WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rand Paul today introduced S.2523, the Fort Knox Energy Security Act. The legislation would specifically allow the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to continue producing natural gas at Fort Knox in Kentucky, which ultimately would enable Fort Knox to become the only military installation capable of self-sustainment in the country. Sen. Paul previously introduced the legislation as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in June 2015.
For the past 20 years, Fort Knox has become the first military installation to provide their own power, heat, gas, water, and wastewater elimination all from on-post resources. In May 2015, Fort Knox successfully demonstrated their ability to fully operate without outside assistance. However, if authority is not given, the investments Fort Knox has made to become self-sustainable will cease and energy costs for the DOD will increase.
“While the development of natural gas resources underlying federal lands is generally the responsibility of the Department of the Interior, the Fort Knox Energy Security Act would provide an exception for previously existing natural gas development at Fort Knox. Allowing the Department of Defense to produce natural gas at Fort Knox would not only be cost-effective for the government, but beneficial for the Fort Knox community,” Sen. Paul said.
Earlier this month, Sen. Paul and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter expressing their concern for any effort by the Obama administration to further reduce Army end strength, which could impact the military installations in Kentucky, including Fort Knox. Sens. Paul and McConnell sent two previous letters to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel voicing their concerns with the proposed Army cuts. Both letters can be found HERE and HERE.
In January 2015, Sen. Paul participated in the Fort Knox and Fort Campbell community listening sessions and spoke in favor of protecting and expanding Army personnel at both Kentucky bases. Following Sen. Paul’s participation in the listening sessions, Sen. Paul voted in favor of an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), introduced by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), which would require the Army to maintain a minimum of 32 brigade combat teams in the regular and reserve components. Since 2013, Kentucky has absorbed a disproportionate amount of active duty Army reductions and transfers at Fort Knox and Fort Campbell. Had it passed, the amendment would have prevented any further elimination of brigade combat teams in Kentucky and across the country, however, it failed with a vote of 26-73.
Also in August 2013, Sens. Paul and McConnell, and Representative Brett Guthrie (R-KY) sent a letter to Army Secretary John M. McHugh encouraging the relocation of the Army Leadership Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) following the deactivation of 3/1 Brigade Combat Team at Fort Knox. The letter can be found HERE.
Click HERE to read the Fort Knox Energy Security Act in its entirety.