Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. --
For many years the United States has heavily relied on foreign energy resources to supply the nation with the oil which has supported its working force, as well as it’s fighting force.
“We need to be energy self reliant,” said Maj. Gen. Carl Jensen, commanding general of Marine Corps Installations East. “I believe strongly that we have got to break our dependence on petrochemicals. You know it and I know it. Even worse than that, (it’s) a foreign petrochemical dependence. We need to start getting angles on that problem and do something about it.”
Jensen passed during aceremonial event which included the inaugural shipment of biodiesel grown, processed and blended exclusively in North Carolina for the military, and delivered to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, 9 a.m. Monday.
The delivery of the B20 biodiesel was the culmination of years of collaboration facilitated by North Carolina Eastern Region’s Military Growth Task Force through a project known as Fuel the Force. The driving force behind this project are North Carolina’s two leading industries, the military and agriculture, opening the doors to new development of infrastructures necessary for North Carolina’s farmers to provide the renewable fuels for the military.
“This represents the first fruits of our effort to try to get homegrown biodiesel to our military forces,” said George Miller, program manager with North Carolina’s Eastern Region MGTF. “We want to promote the balance between the military and the community.”
In 2007, the Marine Corps and Eastern North Carolina counties developed the MGTF to deal with issues within the region, but also implementing solutions with regional responses.
“This is a momentous day for us (and) we didn’t get here in one jump,” said Jensen. “This is just the beginning of this power of partnerships that I believe in the very near future is going to fundamentally alter the way we do business.”
The Marine Corps is under a mandate to reduce its energy consumption 30 percent by 2015. With the support of the local community, such goals are possible.
Through wise networking and resourcing, the innovative ideas and goals of the Marine Corps Installations East, Biofuels Center of North Carolina, Potter Oil, Piedmont Biofuels, North Carolina State Bio and Ag Engineering, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, North Carolina’s Eastern Region Military Growth Task Force, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and farmers of local Eastern North Carolina have been brought together to advance all of their mutual interests in maintaining the fundamentally agrarian nature of Eastern North Carolina
“I think it’s awesome because it marries the (Marine Corps) and Department of Defense with local agriculture and it benefits the U.S. government and the taxpayers,” said Harold Taylor, responsible officer and contracting officer representative fuels with Marine Corps Base Logistics, communications, and business performance officer.
When reporters asked what Jensen was thinking the moment he filled the gas tank of the test vehicle, he said, “This is a very small stone down a mountainside, and (we) hope that it gains momentum.”
“It was no small task getting this fuel to the Marine Corps,” said Miller. “It was hard, but they got it done, thanks to some perseverance, a lot of red tape and paperwork - and for that I’d like to thank (Maj. Gen. Jensen) for being at the tip of the spear.”