Veterans pushing for cleaner energyA bus full of veterans traveling across the country to raise awareness about national security and climate change stopped in Dickinson Tuesday.
By: Ashley Martin, The Dickinson Press
A bus full of veterans traveling across the country to raise awareness about national security and climate change stopped in Dickinson Tuesday.
The veterans — most of whom fought in Iraq — are part of a group called Operation Free, which is made up of veterans from all over the nation who are pushing for cleaner energy legislation.
Veteran Andrew Campbell said the group isn’t about doing away with oil and other “dirty” fuels.
“There’s no getting away from that, there’s no doubt about that,” Campbell said, adding the idea is to move toward cleaner energy.
Clean energy would behoove North Dakota because of the state’s potential for wind energy, Campbell said.
The group says dependence on foreign energy is a threat to national security.
“We’re defending this commodity that is costing American lives and costs us billions of dollars every day and I come back home and see that we’re sending that money right back over seas …” Campbell said. “The future really is in our hands and the answer is doing what we can to start to distance ourselves from our dependence on oil from regions that are unstable and unfriendly.”
Alex Cornell du Houx, who is on the tour, said he wants the nation to become more energy independent.
“For a lot of us, it particularly hits home because of our experiences being deployed and seeing this happen first hand,” Cornell du Houx said.
Robin Eckstein, who was also on the tour, said the effect “dirty” energies have on the environment also puts strain on the military.
“With extra carbon, we end up with a climate disruption and that ends up with the seas rising and you get all the flooding and the storms and things like that and our military is the first one to go to these places, so it’s drawing on the Unites States again,” Eckstein said.
The veterans are being environmentally conscious on their tour and the bus they are riding on runs off of biodiesel.
The veterans got on the bus in Missoula, Mont. on Monday and plan to be at Lewiston, Maine — where their tour ends — by Oct. 24. A second Operation Free bus left Pine Bluff Ark., Monday and will end in Tampa Fla. on Oct. 25.
The buses will carry about two dozen veterans and will tour over 20 states.
Cornell du Houx said the group has seen overwhelming support.
“We have the opportunity in the United States to really lead and lead the world in this,” he said.