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Senator chairs Energy Committee field hearing on board U.S.S. Kearsarge in Norfolk, VA

(Norfolk, VA) – Energy independence makes our military more effective and our nation safer, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) said today at a Senate Energy Committee field hearing she held on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge in Norfolk, VA.  Shaheen called a hearing of her Subcommittee on Water and Power to learn more about the Navy’s successful energy initiatives, including those exemplified by the U.S.S. Kearsarge. 

Shaheen was joined at the hearing by U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA).  Former U.S. Senator John Warner (R-VA) and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus both testified as witnesses.

“When our military improves the way it uses energy, it gives us a strategic advantage and strengthens our national security,” Shaheen said.  “The less beholden our troops are to fuel supply lines, the less vulnerable they are in the field.  The more efficient their battery packs are, the more time they have to complete the mission.  The Navy has set the pace for improvements in energy use.  Now it’s time for the rest of the nation to follow.”

“The Department of the Navy is committed to implementing an energy program that enhances our national security and our military readiness by reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels,” Mabus testified.  “We must use energy more efficiently and we must lead in the development of alternative energy; otherwise, we allow our military readiness to remain at risk.  Energy security is national security.”

As a member of both the Senate Energy and Armed Services Committees, Shaheen has been active in efforts to bolster our national security through energy independence.  In July, she toured the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard with former Senator John Warner, also a former Secretary of the Navy, to examine the shipyard’s substantial energy efficiency upgrades.  Shaheen has also introduced a bipartisan national energy efficiency strategy that would create jobs and save businesses and consumers money.

Under the leadership of Secretary Mabus, the Navy has reduced its energy intensity by 16 percent and now produces or procures roughly 18 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources.  It also has more than 10,000 alternative fuel vehicles in operation and 180 renewable energy projects at installations throughout the world.

The Kearsarge, an amphibious assault ship, is the fourth Navy vessel to bear the name and is named for Mount Kearsarge in Shaheen’s home state of New Hampshire. Launched in 1992, it has received numerous awards for its energy and environmental programs, including the Chief of Naval Operations Environmental Safety Award, the Secretary of the Navy Energy Award and the Department of Energy’s Mobility Energy Efficiency Award.