Bernie Sanders and EPA chief inspect Vermont National Guard solar power project
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P Jackson today joined US Senator Bernie Sanders on a tour of a Vermont National Guard solar power installation in South Burlington, which is touted as a model for military bases around the country.
Brigadier General Thomas Drew, the Guard’s new adjutant general, escorted the EPA administrator and Sanders (I-VT) on a tour of one of the largest solar projects at any National Guard base in the United States.
“This solar installation project is a great example of what can happen at military facilities, where we can foster healthier environments for the people on our bases, and drive innovation that is critical to our economic and environmental future,” said Jackson. “Some of our most interesting and innovative environmental ideas are taking hold on bases and through EPA’s work with the military. The EPA is proud of our active collaboration with the various branches, and our efforts to protect health and the environment in the places where our soldiers and their families live and work.”
Sanders welcomed the EPA chief to Vermont and echoed her statement. “At a time when the U.S. Defense Department is the largest consumer of energy in the world, the Vermont National Guard is a model for what other military institutions can be doing,” the senator said.
Sanders applauded Jackson’s leadership at the EPA, crediting her and the Obama administration with improving fuel economy standards for cars and trucks and for strong enforcement of clean air regulations to combat global warming. “Perhaps not as well known,’ the senator added, “is that EPA has been working with the military to help make our bases more sustainable when it comes to energy and water use.”
As Chairman of the Senate Green Jobs Subcommittee, Sanders held a hearing with leaders from the Army, Navy, and Air Force and EPA to discuss that partnership. He cited the Vermont National Guard as a leader.
The project was estimated to save hundreds of thousands annually on the Guard’s energy bills and provide 40 percent of the electricity needs at the base. In fact, the project has outperformed expectations. In the last three months, the solar project has generated 681 megawatt hours of electricity, over 11 percent more than expected. During the same three-month period, the Guard saved more than $82,000 on electric bills.
“Our National Guard is a model for the military and for businesses, as well, that want to invest in energy efficiency and sustainable energy to save money and cut greenhouse gas emissions,” Sanders said.
Completed in 2011, the project was built with $8.5 million in grants secured by Sanders.
SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt., Aug. 23, 2012