Quigley Offers Amendment Moving $921 Million from Nuclear Weapons to Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), who serves as a member of the House Appropriations Committee and as Vice Chair of the Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition (SEEC), offered an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2018 Energy and Water Development Subcommittee appropriations bill moving $921 million from nuclear weapons to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Below are his remarks on the amendment, as prepared for delivery.
Quigley: We Can No Longer Pretend a Large Nuclear Stockpile Will Protect Us From Most Immediate Security Threats, Including Cyber-Attacks & Climate Change
“For decades, presidents and Members of Congress from both parties have worked together to prevent the use and spread of nuclear weapons and materials. Starting with President Reagan’s leadership, American presidents have reduced the size of America’s nuclear arsenal from its Cold War peak. In fact, Republican presidents have cut the arsenal far more aggressively than their Democratic counterparts.
“Yet, this year’s Energy and Water Appropriations bill doubles down on an outdated Cold War strategy by unnecessarily diverting precious resources to build new nukes. America’s arsenal consists of about 5,000 nuclear weapons, and most are far more destructive than the one that destroyed Hiroshima.
“What remains unclear is how these weapons will help solve 21st century national security threats such as terrorism, cyber-attacks or global warming. We can no longer pretend that a large nuclear stockpile will protect us from the most immediate security threats the United States faces. As we’ve seen from recent experiences, adversaries like Putin, are more likely to launch a cyber-attack than launch a nuclear attack.
“Yet, over the next three decades, the U.S. is expected to spend $1 trillion on our nuclear arsenal. That’s money that’s not going to what really keeps us safe, like homeland security grants, by intelligence gathering, and fortifying our critical infrastructure.
“Rather than wasting tax dollars to keep up the status quo, we must find ways to replace the U.S. nuclear arsenal while maintaining a force capable of deterring nuclear attack against the United States and its allies.
“In 2013, the Pentagon determined that the United States could reduce its deployed strategic nuclear force by one-third below current levels and still meet U.S. security requirements. According to the Former Vice Chairman of the Joints Chiefs, General Cartwright, the military utility of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons, such as the B61, is practically nil. Even Defense Secretary Mattis has raised doubts about the need for new ICBMs and the need to take a closer look at the new nuclear-armed cruise missile. Yet, the appropriations bill that we are discussing today just throws more money at the problem. In fact, it’s worse than that.
“This bill proposes to add nearly one billion dollars to the nuclear weapons activities account by gutting the Department of Energy office responsible for research and application of technology to increase energy efficiency and renewable energy.
“DOE’s EERE has traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support and is crucial to research and development in clean, renewable energies, energy-use reduction technologies, vehicle engines, geothermal technologies, and advanced batteries. This is a government success story- the 12 billion dollars we invested in EERE through 2012 yielded a more than 230 billion dollars benefit to the US economy and EERE has an annual return on investment of more than 20 percent. Entire industries are built on the back of the work EERE does stimulating a robust domestic clean energy economy.
“Astonishingly, this budget also proposes completely zeroing out the ARPA-E program within EERE. ARPA-E, the energy-focused descendent of the DARPA DOD program that brought us the internet, is a model of successful advanced research. ARPA-E, which was funded last year at a little over 300 million dollars, is uniquely positioned to support technologies to enhance the economic and energy security of the United States; and sponsors capital-heavy, high-reward projects with the potential to revolutionize the way we live projects that would otherwise go unfunded.
“It is beyond me to understand why this committee would propose to eliminate ARPA-E and cut EERE in half, in order to plus up spending on nuclear weapons. That’s why my amendment would take 921 million dollars from nuclear weapons activities and give it back to EERE.
“Just to be clear, this would still be a cut. The current bill funds EERE at $986 million less than the current enacted level, but it would go a long way towards fixing this mistake. I urge committee members to support this amendment.”