Iowa Flag Officer will advocate for energy policies that will strengthen national security
MASON CITY, IOWA – Ret. Army Major General Gary Wattnem, a distinguished flag officer residing in Iowa, is traveling to Washington, D.C. on July 9-11 to meet with Senators Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin to discuss the importance of energy security and how it impacts national security.
Wattnem, with his decades of Army experience, will provide the Senators with the first-hand knowledge they need to truly understand the risk the United States will face unless significant changes are made to energy security policies.
The most pressing item on Wattnem’s agenda is the permit approval for the Keystone XL Pipeline that will contribute to U.S. energy independence by transporting desperately needed domestic and Canadian oil to American refineries.
“The United States and Canada have an established and friendly trading partnership and this pipeline would eventually provide us with twice of what we currently import from the Persian Gulf,” Wattnem said. “If Washington is serious about increasing our economic, energy, and national security then it needs to act fast and get this pipeline built.”
The State Department has conducted four separate environmental impact assessments that repeatedly conclude that the pipeline would not have significant impacts on the environment. Despite the overwhelming public support for the pipeline, a final approval for its permit has been put on hold.
Wattnem will also press the Senators to fix the Renewable Fuel Standard, a series of mandates for the production of renewable fuels established in the Energy Independence Act of 2007.
In order to comply with RFS mandates, American fuel supplies have been blending 10 percent ethanol content into fuel. They are approaching the point at which refiners are no longer able to meet the ethanol blending mandates. This will put refiners in the situation of either having to produce 15 percent ethanol or 85 percent ethanol, which could cause engine damage in military vehicles and hurt the economy.
“We need to avoid these unrealistic regulations that severely impact our economic and energy security,” Wattnem said.
Wattnem is a member of Vets4Energy, a group of volunteer veterans from a variety of branches and ranks of the military. Dozens of other Vets4Energy are joining Wattnem on Capitol Hill to meet with their Senators. They hail from 25 other states and have fought in every U.S. war or engagement since Vietnam.
About Ret. Army Major General Gary Wattnem
Wattnem served a tour of duty at the Eastern Area Military Traffic Management and Terminal Service in Brooklyn, N.Y. During 1970 and 1971 he served in Vietnam with the 71st Transportation Battalion at Long Binh, Republic of Vietnam.
He entered the Active Reserve in November of 1971. His assignments included Company Commander of the 404th Signal Company in Waterloo, Iowa, and Signal Officer of the 394th Ammo Battalion in Ames, Iowa. He then was assigned to the 103rd COSCOM at Fort Des Moines where he served in a number of assignments including Battalion Commander. He was then selected as Commander of the 56th Material Management Center at Fort Snelling, Minn.
In September of 1993, he became the Chief of Staff of the 19th Theater Army Area Command in Des Moines, Iowa. In August of 1996, he assumed command of the 3rd Corps Support Command in Des Moines. He was selected as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics at the Pentagon in 1999. He retired in 2004.