Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) secured updated language in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 to allow the Department of the Army (Army) to continue using natural gas as an energy source at Fort Knox.
Guthrie introduced legislation earlier this year to authorize Army to continue producing and using natural gas at Fort Knox, as has been done there for the last decade. Especially following a 2009 ice storm that crippled the installation’s energy operations, the post’s natural gas production and use has been an integral part of Fort Knox’s award-winning energy security program, and has made the post a leader among installations across all branches of the Armed Forces. With a round of service contracts expiring, however, the program required a legislative fix to continue operating. The Guthrie legislation was included as an amendment to the House NDAA, which passed on May 24, 2018. Members of the House and Senate convened a Conference Committee this summer to produce the final text of the FY2019 NDAA.
Guthrie, McConnell, and Paul have worked with the Departments of Defense, Army, and Interior, both the House and Senate Armed Services committees, as well as the House Natural Resources and Senate Energy and Natural Resources committees to ensure that the natural gas production provision would be included in the FY2019 NDAA. With McConnell’s leadership in the Senate, this language was included in the final bill filed by the Conference Committee on Monday, which is expected to pass both chambers in the coming weeks.
“Fort Knox’s production of natural gas has allowed the base to become energy secure and is ultimately a national security issue,” said Guthrie. “After working with the Departments of Defense, Army, and Interior, we have finally come to a workable solution to give the Army the resources it needs to continue this program at Fort Knox, while also giving Interior the opportunity to lend their expertise to the energy production process. This has been a long term project and is now a win for Army, a win for Interior, and most importantly, a win for the Fort Knox community and the Commonwealth. I want to especially thank Leader McConnell for his tireless efforts to get this across the finish line, once again proving that he is a champion for Kentucky in his role as Majority Leader. I look forward to voting for the final legislation this week.”
“Fort Knox continues to play an essential role in our nation’s defense,” said Senator McConnell, who worked to secure the provision in the FY2019 NDAA conference report and communicated the importance of this issue to Secretary of Defense James Mattis and to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “I am proud that we have taken the next steps to promote the installation’s energy security and self-sufficiency. Congressman Guthrie continues to be a strong leader for the Fort Knox community and I appreciate his commitment to helping move this legislation forward. I also want to thank Senator Paul and leaders at the Department of Defense, Department of the Army, and Department of the Interior for their engagement on this issue. As Congress continues its work to support our men and women in uniform, I am pleased that we accomplished this priority for Kentucky and our nation’s security.”
“As a staunch defender of Kentucky’s military installations and fierce advocate for our nation’s armed forces, I am proud to continue my efforts on behalf of Fort Knox and protecting their energy independence capabilities,” said Senator Paul. “This provision, much like my previously introduced amendments on this issue, will allow the U.S. Department of Defense to continue producing natural gas at Fort Knox. I look forward to its passage and hope Fort Knox can continue to lead the way in cost-effectiveness and ingenuity when it comes to natural gas development and sustainability.”
“The Fort Knox energy security program is a leader among other branches of the military and a boon to the Fort Knox area,” said Jim Iacocca from the Knox Regional Development Alliance. “We want to thank the Kentucky congressional delegation for spearheading this effort to include this legislation in this year’s NDAA. We look forward to seeing Fort Knox continue to grow as a result of this legislation.”
Both the House and the Senate must now vote on the updated language for this year’s NDAA. The House is expected to vote this week.