U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz on Wednesday heralded the Pentagon’s decision to not allow President Joe Biden’s green energy policies to interfere with Florida’s coastline or military readiness.
In a letter released by Gaetz’s office on Wednesday, William LaPlante, undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, assured the congressman that the Biden administration is not seeking to develop wind-driven energy in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
LaPlante was responding to a letter Gaetz sent to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in July.
In his letter, the Fort Walton Beach Republican expressed concern that wind energy development in the Gulf, especially east of the Military Mission Line, or MML, “will have a negative impact on our military readiness.”
“For decades, it’s been understood that new oil and gas leasing east of the MML is antithetical to our nation’s military readiness. I am writing to encourage you to apply the same rigor in protecting the Eastern Gulf Test and Training Range from obstructive wind energy development as the Department has for new oil and gas leasing,” Gaetz wrote.
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Gaetz noted that the Trump administration saw the eastern Gulf as “an irreplaceable national asset.” That’s because “no other area in the world provides the U.S. military with ready access to a highly instrumented, network-connected, surrogate environment for military operations in the Northern Arabian Gulf and Indo-Pacific Theater.”
“China is our pacing threat,” Gaetz added, “and depriving our military of its only “surrogate environment” of the Indo-Pacific Theater is counterintuitive to our National Defense Strategy.”
Additionally, he added, the U.S. Air Force is working to modernize the area to serve as the “center of hypersonic testing and development, which is critical to closing the capability gap with China and Russia.”
“Oil rigs and windmills, and the people required to build and maintain them, should not be in the same areas where experimental missiles are flying over their heads,” Gaetz continued.
He added that the Pentagon, under Biden, must “protect this national treasure from the deliberate development of wind turbine range foulers.”
LaPlante, whose letter was dated last month, agreed that the eastern Gulf of Mexico is “an irreplaceable national asset for developing and maintaining the readiness of our combat forces and is critical to achieving the objectives in the National Defense Strategy.”
The Pentagon, he added, has been successful in advising the Department of Interior of its training and readiness concerns in certain areas, including the Gulf, and protecting such areas from “incompatible development.”
“While there are task force efforts underway for the Central and Western GOMEX [Gulf of Mexico], there are no current plans to develop wind energy projects in the EGOMEX [eastern Gulf of Mexico], and thus there is no task force or other planning effort for wind development in EGOMEX.”
“I appreciate your efforts to protect the military mission in the EGOMEX from incompatible development,” LaPlante told Gaetz.
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In a statement, Gaetz’s office said the congressman “applauded” the Defense Department for its “avowed commitment to protect Florida’s Gulf Coast Military Mission Line (MML) from the Biden administration’s expansion of offshore wind farms” and for the Pentagon’s “plans to protect Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast from any future wind development projects.”