Casten Introduces the National Security Resiliency and Sustainability Act

July 14, 2020
Press Release
Legislation would set standards for clean energy use, carbon intensity, and water use intensity for the Department of Defense

Downers Grove, IL – U.S. Representative Sean Casten (IL-06) introduced H.R. 7417 the National Security Resiliency and Sustainability Act, which would enact President Obama-era standards to reduce emissions and increase use of clean energy sources for the Department of Defense (DoD) while maintaining military readiness.

A study from DoD last year highlights how climate change has impacted US military readiness through increased exposure to flooding, droughts, desertification, wildfires, and thawing permafrost. As the intensity and frequency of acute weather events increase due to climate change, the physical damage done to our military installations is sure to intensify and damage our ability to ensure national security.

Casten said, “Climate change is an existential threat to our national security, and the Department of Defense must combat global warming as it would any other threat. The US federal government consumed nearly 900 trillion mmbtu of energy, and emitted nearly 37 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from standard operations in 2019. At a time when the executive branch has ceded its national and international leadership on climate change, we must demand that the federal government do better. Reducing DoD emissions through the National Security Resiliency and Sustainability Act is one of the easiest steps Congress can take to reduce climate change and help ensure national security.”

Specifically the legislation resurrects President Obama’s Executive Order 13693, which was revoked in 2018, and applies it to DoD that was responsible for 45% of all federal government emissions last year. This bill would also require DoD to reduce energy and water and would increase the amount of clean energy used in DoD buildings. The bill would require new DoD buildings to achieve net zero energy and water or waste consumption by 2035. Finally, the bill would require DoD to develop and implement an annual strategic sustainability plan to submit to Congress each year.

The bill also has strong controls to make sure that its requirements do not impact military readiness or capabilities. Its requirements would only apply to DoD facilities located in the US, and it would allow the Secretary of Defense to waive its requirements if they determine it within the country’s national security interest.