A Briefing Leads to a Bill: The California Energy Security Act

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Operation Free veterans brief hundreds of lawmakers on the local, state, and federal levels each year. Because they defended their country and witnessed firsthand the fuel intensity of war, these veterans are uniquely positioned to make the case for energy security and inspire elected officials to take action.

After an Operation Free briefing, one state senator in California – Fran Pavley (District 27) – heard the message loud and clear. She realized what military leaders have been saying for years: Climate change and dependence on oil pose a threat to our men and women in uniform, and to America’s national security. The answer is clean energy.

Senator Pavley took immediate action, working closely with Operation Free. Her office drafted legislation known as the Energy Security Coordination Act (SB 1409), designed to expedite clean energy developments in California. The bill – the first Operation Free had ever helped author – aligns the state of California with the Department of Defense so that military and civilian sector projects alike can avoid red tape, save taxpayer money, and ensure national security interests are considered.

In less than a month, SB 1409 moved forward. Operation Free veterans and military experts told their stories at hearings held by three committees, and met lawmakers one-on-one. Businesses, workers, and other clean energy advocates joined the cause. Every step of the way, the bill was met with near-unanimous support from both Republicans and Democrats. The legislation passed swiftly, with only two “no” votes in the state assembly.

On September 27, 2012 – just nine months after Senator Pavley was briefed by Operation Free – the bill was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, demonstrating that California can lead the nation on energy security.

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