January 10, 2011

This Weekend’s News: Representative Giffords

The one story that will continue to dominate the news cycle for days and weeks to come is the horrific shooting of 20 people on Saturday in Tucson, including U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords. Our hearts go out to Representative Giffords, her family, and all the victims and their families of this senseless act of violence.

Rather than comment at length on the shooting, here are a few brief comments to those who may not be familiar with Representative Giffords and her leadership on some of the issues that we study at CNAS, in particular on energy.  

Congresswoman Giffords has been a strong proponent of addressing America’s energy security challenge. “I believe we need to move towards energy independence both for our national security and for the safety of our planet,” she stated on her Congressional website. On Capitol Hill, she is widely considered an expert on solar energy.

As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Representative Giffords has made laudable efforts to overhaul the Defense Department’s energy use. In a May 2010 press release, Representative Giffords remarked on the military’s increasingly dangerous tether to operational fuel: “In 2007, Giffords said, 170 service members tragically lost their lives in attacks on fuel convoys and during an average month in 2008, 220,000 gallons of fuel were lost to ambushes, attacks and accidents,” according to the press release. “Prudence dictates we take bold action,” the Congresswoman stated.

Last May, Representative Giffords introduced the Department of Defense Energy Security Act of 2010. According to her office, the bill would:

Increase the safety of our men and women on the front lines and help reduce the Pentagon’s $20 billion annual fuel bill through a number of specific steps. Among them is accelerating the production of biofuels for aviation and promoting large-scale renewable energy projects at defense facilities. The bill also mandates studying the integration of hybrid technology into tactical vehicles and requires the department to derive 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025.

The bill is one of just many examples of Representative Giffords’ commitment to the public she serves, working to address some of today’s most elusive challenges. We wish her a full and speedy recovery, and look forward to her continued leadership on some of the most pressing national security challenges facing this generation of American policymakers.

This Week’s Events

On Tuesday, head over to the Wilson Center for an event on U.S. Energy Security Policy: A Global Perspective starting at 10AM. At noon, the Environmental Law Institute hosts another energy event, An Essential Pathway to Sustainability: Energy Efficiency.

On Wednesday at noon, the Middle East Institute will look at oil during its event, The Impact of Changing Market Forces and Policies on Middle East Oil.  

On Thursday, CSIS will host an energy event, Responsible Stewardship of U.S. Offshore Oil and Natural Gas Development, at 10 AM. Then at 3:30 PM, head over to Pew Charitable Trusts for a briefing from the Pew Project on National Security, Energy & Climate.