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Lankford Leads OK Congressional Delegation to Get Answers on Delays in Energy Production at McAlester Army Ammunition Plant

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) was joined by the entire Oklahoma congressional delegation to send a letter to Department of Defense (DOD) Secretary Lloyd Austin and Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Deb Haaland to demand information on the regulatory and statutory authority of DOD and DOI to explore, extract, and produce energy from any and all baseload energy sources for energy resilience purposes. A 2021 report required by Congress included a list of nearly 150 military installations located within 25 miles of the top-100 most productive natural gas and oil reserves in the United States, one of which is located on the property of the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant (MCAAP).

Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Representatives Frank Lucas (R-OK), Tom Cole (R-OK), Stephanie Bice (R-OK), Kevin Hern (R-OK), and Josh Brecheen (R-OK) joined Lankford in sending the letter.

The Members wrote in their letter, “The purpose of energy resilience is to ensure our military installations are able to continue operations in the event of a local, grid-wide, or national energy supply disruption. Additionally, DoD has been directed to ensure that installations and forces are resilient to all hazard risks and that the strategic use of energy promotes the readiness of the armed forces for their military mission.”

The Members ask for additional information from DOD and DOI “in order to clarify the authorities necessary for the deployment of oil and gas resources for the use of military energy resilience and security.”

Please find a full copy of the letter HERE and below:

Dear Secretaries Austin and Haaland,

We write today regarding the Department of Defense’s (DOD) energy resilience charge to all US military installations and seek information on the regulatory and statutory authority of both DOD and the Department of the Interior (DOI) to explore, extract, and produce energy from any and all baseload energy sources for energy resilience purposes. As you know, the purpose of energy resilience is to ensure our military installations are able to continue operations in the event of a local, grid-wide, or national energy supply disruption. Additionally, DOD has been directed to ensure that installations and forces are resilient to all hazard risks and that the strategic use of energy promotes the readiness of the armed forces for their military mission.

Under 10 U.S.C. §2911, the Secretary of Defense is responsible for “ensur[ing] the readiness of the armed forces for their military missions by pursuing energy security and energy resilience.” In implementing this section of the US Code, DOD has pursued a plan to establish microgrids at all military installations, utilizing a diverse array of energy sources to be energy resilient by 2035. In FY 2022, DoD consumed $4.2 billion in fuel for installation energy. Further, natural gas was the largest non-electric fuel source, used in almost 75 percent of installation energy consumption.

In 2021, Senate Report 117-39, which accompanied the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016, requested that DoD review a 2016 analysis of installations with likely gas and oil reserves to provide a recommendation for a pilot site to initiate use of on-site mineral reserves for energy resilience and security purposes. The program aims to provide the installation with onsite energy production, light refining, storage, and onsite generation to maintain critical operations during grid outages. The report states, “Due to the absence of general statutory authority for DOD to extract and use minerals at installations, and limited data on confirmed oil and gas reserves under DOD installations, DOD has an insufficient basis for providing a realistic estimate for the expected quality of the reserves…” The report also includes a list of nearly 150 military installations that are located within 25 miles of the top-100 most productive natural gas and oil reserves in the United States.

In order to clarify the authorities necessary for the deployment of oil and gas resources for the use of military energy resilience and security, we are requesting a response to the following questions:

  1. What statutory authority does the DOD and DOI currently have to pursue the planning and deployment of operations to measure, extract, refine, and use existing oil and natural gas reserves within a viable proximity to military installations for energy resilience and security?
  1. What statutory authority does the DOD and DOI currently lack for pursuance of the planning and deployment of operations to measure, extract, refine, and use existing oil and natural gas reserves within a viable proximity to military installations for energy resilience and security?
  1. Does the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Interior, or both have the authority to extract or permit oil and gas extraction from an installation for energy resilience?
  1. What additional authorities are necessary for either the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of the Interior to extract or allow the extraction of oil and gas for installation use?

Please respond to this request no later than 30 days after its receipt.

Sincerely,

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