National vets group heartened by direction of Trump Administration's energy policies

In an unplanned, though fortunate coincidence, a national webinar for American veterans on the issue of energy security occurred just hours after President Donald Trump signed an executive order advancing a long-dormant energy infrastructure project: the Keystone XL pipeline.

The president's order certainly became one of the major topics of the conversation of the webinar, hosted by Vets4Energy, a national coalition of veterans advocating for policies increasing the country's energy independence.

"This is a major step forward. We're going to see many thousands of jobs created by the Keystone XL pipeline," said retired Army Capt. James McCormick, a bronze and silver star recipient and program director for Vets4Energy who was the main speaker on the webinar.

McCormick also highlighted the "America First Energy Plan" recently released by the White House, calling the plan beautifully written and aligning with much of what Vets4Energy has been advocating for years.

"Sound energy policy begins with the recognition that we have vast untapped domestic energy reserves right here in America," the White House energy plan said. "The Trump administration will embrace the shale oil and gas revolution to bring jobs and prosperity to millions of Americans. We must take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own. We will use the revenues from energy production to rebuild our roads, schools, bridges and public infrastructure. Less expensive energy will be a big boost to American agriculture, as well," the plan said.

“A lot of things we were saying on energy security and energy independence are contained in the president's plan," said McCormick, who met Trump on the campaign trail last year and was energized by what the then-candidate said on energy security.

Specifically, McCormick praised the president's agreement that the country's "national security is tied closely to being able to access and produce as many types of energy as possible."

"National security," he said, "is not just about the military."

While renewable energies, such as solar and wind, will be increasingly important in delivering energy in the future, natural gas and other traditional fossil fuel sources are going to be needed for decades to come, McCormick said during the webinar.

"Opening up federal lands, offshore exploration and increasing hydraulic fracturing are ways to drive up the amount of energy the U.S. produces, and lessen any reliance on other nations, including undemocratic ones," he added.

Referring to the president's executive order on the Keystone XL pipeline, McCormick said pipelines have an “impeccable safety record, and the huge increase in the production of natural gas is helping to bring down carbon emissions."

“Your participation is critical to make sure we do our mission,” McCormick said in thanking his fellow veterans for their continued work to advance the issue of energy security.

While he stressed that energy policy is expected to change fairly radically under President Trump, there will continue to be wide differences among state regulators.

"That is why it is so important to advocate locally," McCormick said. 

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