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Guthrie Votes to Support Troops, Protect Fort Knox Energy Independence

Washington, DC, May 24, 2018
National Defense Authorization Act includes Guthrie legislation to allow continued production, use of natural gas at Fort Knox

Washington, DC– Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02) today applauded House passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019, which authorizes increased funding for the military and provides direction to the Department of Defense on policy priorities. The bipartisan NDAA includes Guthrie’s legislation to allow the Army to continue using natural gas as an alternative energy source at Fort Knox.

“I was proud to vote for this year’s NDAA, which supports our troops and increases military readiness,” said Guthrie. “Our nation faces complex threats around the world, and our military must be ready for any challenge. The bipartisan NDAA provides for an increase in troop end strength and provides for badly needed improvements in military equipment and facilities – all while giving our troops their biggest pay raise in nine years. It also includes my bill to codify Fort Knox’s ability to continue producing and using their own natural gas on post, a central part of Fort Knox’s award-winning energy independence. Fort Knox is the first Energy Secure Installation in the Army and this legislation further solidifies Fort Knox’s status as a ‘mission critical’ base for the Department of Defense. I thank my colleagues for supporting this important measure and am working to seeing it signed into law.”

Specifically, the NDAA:

  • Funds a 2.6% pay raise for our troops and extends special pay and bonuses for service members in high-demand fields;
  • Streamlines DoD buying practices;
  • Increases funding to rebuild our military and support readiness recovery;
  • And invests in missile defense and nuclear deterrents, including for our European allies and our greatest friend in the Middle East, Israel.

Guthrie spoke on the House floor in support of his legislation. See below for the text of his remarks.

“I rise in support of my amendment to clarify Congress’s intent with energy security and conservation programs at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

“In January 2009, a major ice storm hit my district, crippling the local infrastructure for days. This outage across the region also affected Fort Knox due to the post’s reliance on the local energy grid. This weather event highlighted a vulnerability that the local leaders at Fort Knox took very seriously and had already been working for years to mitigate. With the full support of the Pentagon, the leaders on post and in the community around Fort Knox have made great strides to make Fort Knox the Army’s first Energy Secure Installation. This really is a great story and one that we in Congress should support.

“My amendment is about how natural gas fits into the complex and highly sophisticated energy security program at Fort Knox – Kentucky being blessed with natural gas. The award-winning combination of features in the Knox Energy Program ranges from new power generation facilities to a geothermal pond, infrared heating systems, extensive energy efficiency upgrades, and even a solar array. The dashboard in the control room is incredible to see, as energy officials can remotely observe and analyze current energy consumption and efficiency, isolated to the level of individual rooms in the buildings on post.

“While the energy conservation program at Fort Knox started in the 1970s, the natural gas story really came into focus a little over 10 years ago when the Army established services contracts with local companies to drill and pump methane gas on post. This is everything we want for our national security—energy independence and security that saves federal money, off-the-grid capability during moments of national crisis, and utilizing energy resources efficiency and as close to the source as possible.

“Natural gas has been produced and used on post since 2009 and makes up about 28 percent of annual needs. The amount of gas produced is enough for an entire summer load. However, the catch is and why we’re here is that the Interior Department has raised concerns because Army did not go through the typical Bureau of Land Management lease process. The Bureau of Land Management lease process will not work for this kind of operation because it is not in our national security interest to give mineral rights for DoD property to a third party. The Army should be able to access the resources on post for consumption and use on post…

“This amendment simply allows Fort Knox to continue the great energy security success story and gives them the ability to remain the number one Energy Secure Army installation.”