When we hear the words “jet fuel,” we tend to think in terms of exotic, volatile mixtures, something akin to that which sends top fuel dragsters roaring down a quarter-mile track. In reality, jet propulsion fuel is pretty ordinary stuff. Depending on the type, it can be nothing more than the same kerosene we used to put in lanterns. So when I heard that the Navy was now paying as much as $16 a gallon for some of its jet fuel, every alarm on my internal radar sounded off in a deafening squeal.
My first call naturally went to my brother, Bob. Although he runs his own plastic molding firm, his passion is flying. Every chance he gets, he pilots business jets for charter companies, and his adventures have taken him to Europe and the Far East. He verified the non-exotic nature of jet propulsion fuel, and added that it currently runs $4 to $6 per gallon depending on location. He also said that one of the companies he flies for has its own “fuel farm,” and its cost is $3.87 as of this writing.
But we’re not talking about ordinary, fossil-based jet propulsion fuel here. On Dec. 5, the secretaries of the Navy and Department of Agriculture announced the largest government contract for the purchase of biofuel. Similar to the ethanol we add (at taxpayer expense) to gasoline, this new jet propulsion fuel is manufactured from plant matter. But instead of corn, it uses algae as its base.
So what’s so special about this new biofuel that the administration is willing to pay four times the going rate? A Dec. 13 Investors Business Daily commentary provides the answers.
The contract’s main benefactor is Solazyme, and one of Solazyme’s advisors, T. J. Glauthier, was not only a member of Obama’s presidential transition team, but also worked on his 2009 stimulus bill — the energy portion of the stimulus bill. It’s good to have friends in high places, and if the public gets ripped off in the process, why then, “que sera, sera.” Incidentally, Solazyme previously received close to $22 million in stimulus funds. That’s right, funds from the same stimulus that Glauthier worked on. Must be a coincidence.
According to administration officials, however, the driving force behind the contract had nothing to do with “friends in high places.” Obama Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said, “We are doing this for one simple reason: It makes us better fighters” because “our use of fossil fuels is a very real threat to our national security and to the U.S. Navy ability to protect America and project power overseas.”
Our national security threat isn’t our use of fossil fuels. The real threat is our continued dependence on foreign nations to meet our fossil fuel needs. The threat also emanates from this administration’s refusal to make use of our own natural resources to achieve full energy independence. The threat finally comes from forcing our military to march to this administration’s ill-conceived green energy drum.
There are very few callings in life greater than that of a military career. Our service personnel protect not only our own freedom, but also that of the weak and powerless throughout the world. They do so for little remuneration and at peril to their own life, liberty and safety. Making them the pawns to this administration’s failed green energy policy is despicable.
As of this moment, our military is facing the possibility of massive budget cuts because of Congress’ inability to control its own addiction to spending and this administration’s unwillingness to participate in the budgetary process. If these cuts should come to pass, let the military’s contribution be the return of the president’s moronic green aviation fuel. It’s already done far enough.
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