Energy Policy Needed

Sunday, September 30, 2012

With the events of the past weeks it is all the more obvious that there are countless threats to national security that the United States must battle everyday. One need only to turn to the news to view accounts of unemployment, debt crisis and terrorism. I believe another force that threatens to weaken America’s national security is our dependence on foreign sources of oil.


This belief is why, on July 11, 2012, I, along with other distinguished American veterans from 26 states, flew to Washington, D.

C. to meet with our U.S. Senators, Representatives and their staffs to discuss energy policy. As a group of dedicated veterans, it is our belief that the United States needs to develop a clear, concise and comprehensive energy policy in order to secure our nation's stability in years to come. “Energy security equals national security.”


While the event itself is over, our commitment to the goal of achieving energy security is just beginning. I returned home to Nashville with a hopeful outlook in our country’s ability to become energy independent. The productive conversation and open-mindedness I witnessed during my time in Washington are the crucial tools needed to solve the problem of energy dependence.


Among the policies discussed, I believe that construction of the Keystone XL pipeline would be an enormous step in the right direction. Many of you may have heard that the Pipeline would bring an abundance of economic benefit to our nation. While the new jobs and revenue growth are incentives enough, I am writing to provide you with my perspective on the importance of this project based on its potential to provide us with increased energy independence.


Canada is already the largest supplier of imported oil to the United States. Approving further construction of Keystone would mean increased oil supplies from a friend and ally, thus reducing the amount of oil we currently import from the unstable Persian Gulf region.


On the job front, as a veteran who has served on the board of directors for Operation Stand Down, a not-for-profit resource that allows veterans to begin the process of rejoining to the community as productive, responsible citizens, the Keystone pipeline would mean a opportunity for employment and continued service to the security of our country. It is an unfortunate reality that veterans are struggling with unemployment at a greater rate than the average American — unemployment for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans hit 12.7% in May.


My volunteer work through OSD has shown me just how important it is that our returning heroes are not abandoned and unemployed. Support of the Keystone XL Pipeline, as well as a greater emphasis on alternative sources of energy can create jobs for returning veterans and civilians alike.


We need Congress to act now. It is my sincere hope that our Tennessee Senators and Representatives will respond positively to this message, and that it will lead us to a comprehensive energy policy.

John Flanagan


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