The Department of Defense won more than half of the top awards for leadership in federal energy and environmental management at a Presidential ceremony held July 15 at the State Department. Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Clay Johnson presented the awards.
Alex Beehler, assistant deputy under secretary of defense for environment, safety and occupational health, said, This good showing is indicative of the dedication of the men and women in the military today, who clearly understand that a strong national defense requires the protection of the energy and natural resources of our country.
The Leadership in Federal Energy Management Awards honor teams of federal employees who exemplify leadership in efficient energy management. The Air Force Renewable Energy Team was recognized for the use of renewable energy sources such as wind farms. Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., for instance, will be able to save $46 million over a five-year period through the use of renewable energy sources. In addition, Dyess Air Force Base in Texas became the largest retail wind power purchaser in the United States when it converted entirely to wind energy.
The Marine Corps Energy Management Team invested in energy efficiency both in the United States and overseas and reduced energy used in 2003 by 341.8 billion Btu. By using innovative outreach to schoolchildren at Marine Corps bases, further savings have been realized. At Camp LeJeune alone, a reduced energy spending of 5.8 percent from 2002 to 2003 was achieved.
Of the eight Closing the Circle Awards, five were given to DoD programs. These awards recognize significant contributions to the environment by federal agencies. Fort Bragg, N.C., was recognized for its innovative sustainability management system, which has enabled the Army to provide soldiers with high quality training without compromising local or regional environmental quality. Using sustainability planning, Fort Bragg commanders were able to reduce the risk to training and to the environment by better compatible land use solutions, use of biodeisel fuel and shuttle bus systems.
Other winners were Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla.; Robins Air Force Base, Ga.; Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.; and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. All received awards for their excellence in reduction of the use of hazardous materials and the use of recycling.
Beehler said, The recognition at the Presidential level of environmental efforts at our individual bases supports the concept of continuous improvement that exists throughout the Department of Defense, from the leadership to the individual soldier, sailor, airman or Marine on the ground. We have the best trained military force in the world, while continuing to be world leaders in energy conservation, environmental management and conservation of our natural resources.