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Schachte: From War To Peace Through Energy




|| By WILLIAM SCHACHTE || More than a million American men and women have given their lives in service to our country.  On Memorial Day, as always, we honored their service with parades, visits to cemeteries, moments of silence, and countless other tributes.  We shared stories about the brave loved ones we’ve lost and show pictures to our young relatives of their patriotic parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings in uniform.

Perhaps the best tribute we can give them is our concerted effort to lessen the likelihood of future wars.

We’re not talking about idealistic or suicidal gestures like unilateral disarmament.  We’re not peaceniks.  As a veteran, we know that the world can be a dangerous place, where a kind heart and good intentions won’t protect you.  We know that wars, ultimately, are fought to preserve our freedoms and the freedoms of our allies — and that, sometimes, they simply can’t be avoided.

But there are contributing factors, like the need for access to energy, that can be minimized by securing friendlier and more reliable foreign sources or, better yet, by developing our own resources.  Toward that end, we should support an all-of-the-above approach to energy independence, encouraging coal production, fracking, development of Arctic reserves, and safely drilling in the outer continental shelf (OCS), etc.

As a resident of a coastal state, a veteran and a volunteer with Vets4Energy, I am particularly interested in the potential for OCS reserves to free us from our dangerous dependence on foreign sources of energy.  There are billions of barrels of oil out there just waiting to be tapped and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas.  Yet, the entire west coast of our country most of Alaska, Florida and the northeast have been off limits for drilling for decades – decades during which thousands of American military men and women have died fighting, in part, to protect our nation’s access to foreign fuels.

As Memorial Day activities draw to a close for another year, let’s pay a real, lasting tribute to our fallen heroes by making a commitment to energy independence.  We can start by calling for the removal of arbitrary restrictions on exploration and production on our entire outer continental shelf, to allow for the safe and environmentally-friendly development of those resources.  The more energy we produce ourselves, the less we have to import, and the fewer of our finest are put in harm’s way. Instead, they can live to celebrate Memorial Day with the rest of us.

William Schachte is a retired Navy rear admiral who resides in Charleston, S.C.  He is the state chairman of Vets4Energy.