Energy security by 2015 – is that an attainable goal?

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Coloradans are leaders in new energy production, using techniques like improved hydraulic fracturing to tap previously inaccessible reserves of oil and natural gas.

There’s also promising research into renewable fuels as well. With our unprecedented production, accelerated production in other states, and increased imports from Canada, we could make help the United States energy secure by 2015.

Construction and maintenance of the Keystone XL Pipeline is going to be a boon for our economy.

But there’s still much to be done.

This most desirable goal was the subject of our effort last month when Vets4Energy traveled to Washington, D.C., for the purpose of sharing with our elected officials the importance of granting long-overdue approval for the Keystone XL Pipeline.

We wanted to reinforce the idea that national security and energy security go hand in hand.

We asked for their support for the pipeline and for all feasible domestic energy ventures.

We also conveyed our support for the four environmental impact assessments conducted since 2008 that fully support the idea that the Keystone XL Pipeline can be built as an environmentally friendly project.

There’s broad congressional and domestic support for the project, and we think that moving forward is in the best interest of national security.

While Canada, one of our oldest and most trusted allies, already supplies a significant portion of the oil we import, Keystone would up that intake by 830,000 barrels per day.

That means more oil coming from a reliable friend, less from unstable or hostile nations, and a big increase in the energy security on which our national security depends.

As veterans, we naturally focus on the national security implications of the project, but construction and maintenance of Keystone is going to be a boon for our economy, too.

It’s going to create, directly and indirectly, a significant increase of jobs, add billions to our GDP, increase government revenues at all levels, and improve our national trade deficit (Canada buys almost as much from us as we do from them).

This is a project that promises to improve national security and increase national prosperity.

At a time of ongoing cutbacks in our national defense budget, the potential for saving some of the billions of dollars we currently spend protecting American and allied access to energy sources in volatile locations around the world is another big plus.

Some of those savings could be used to purchase additional equipment, technology, and training to protect our armed forces.

Most important, any effort we make to increase domestic production of energy or secure more reliable foreign suppliers will reduce the chances of our military being put in harm’s way.

That in itself is a compelling reason to build Keystone XL.

Duane A. Jones, a retired Air Force major general, lives in Colorado Springs and volunteers with Vets4Energy, an organization sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute. Before his retirement from the military in 2012, he was responsible for the planning, programming, budgeting and execution of more than $23 billion annually for Air Force logistics systems and functions.