The top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday criticized a suggestion by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke that West Coast military installations could be used as transshipment points to export coal and natural gas to Asia, asserting the plan could undermine national security. “The Trump administration is once again using national security as an excuse to drive their short-sighted agenda,” Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said in a written statement. “The reality that this administration refuses to act on, however, is that climate change is one of the gravest national security threats facing this country,” Smith said.
On Monday Zinke said the administration was considering the plan to overcome opposition by Washington, Oregon and Californian to allowing ports to export coal and natural gas to Asia over concerns about the fossil fuels’ contribution to climate change. “It’s in our interest for national security and our allies to make sure that they have access to affordable energy commodities,” Zinke said.
In addition to ignoring the consequences of climate change, the plan could interfere with military operations, Smith said. “Exporting coal and gas through Department of Defense military bases or lands will do nothing to help address the impacts of climate change or benefit the energy resiliency of Department of Defense installations. In fact, turning our military bases into export terminals could be an encroachment risk and potentially harm military training, operations and readiness,” he said.
DOD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton