As Americans’ dependency on oil and foreign resources increases, military veterans and clean energy activists are traveling the country to educate citizens about what they say will be the repercussions of outsourcing energy.
The Operation Free coalition’s National Veterans Tour for Clean Energy and Security kicked off the two-month tour Jan. 13 in Washington, D.C., and will travel to 16 states.
The tour made its first stop in Nevada this past weekend at the National Guard Las Vegas Readiness Center, 4500 W. Silverado Ranch Blvd. The forum on Saturday consisted of four military veterans and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Army veteran Robin Eckstein said the tour is important because she says U.S. money spent on foreign resources is helping to fund terrorist organizations. She was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and was stationed at the Baghdad airport.
“We’re funding both sides of the war,” she said. “People need to let their friends and family know about climate change and the national security connection.”
Sgt. Alex Cornell du Houx, of the U.S. Marine Corps, said he became involved with the cause in 2006.
According to Operation Free, the United States sends $500,000 each minute to foreign regimes for oil and uses 25 percent of the world’s supply -- more than all of the countries of the European Union combined.
Cornell du Houx said Nevada is taking a lead with alternative and solar energy projects. He said more states should use multiple forms of energy to prevent the country from relying only on oil.
“Each state has a unique ability to take on clean energy,” he said.
Resident Dick Collins, 63, of Las Vegas, said even though alternative energy projects should be explored, the United States is still outsourcing equipment. In Texas, for example, generators for wind energy are coming from China, Collins said.
Reid responded, saying American-made products are important and the government should focus on more manufacturers at home before buying overseas.
Climate change was another topic discussed at the forum. Reid said global warming shouldn't be ignored because its effects already have been felt.
For more information on the National Veterans Tour for Clean Energy and Security, visit www.operationfree.net. The group's next forum will be Tuesday in Reno.