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McInerney to talk energy, national security

James Fenton
jfenton@daily-times.com
An undated photo of retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney.

FARMINGTON — Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney will discuss energy, geopolitics and national security at a free event at San Juan College tonight.

In a presentation titled, "The U.S. Energy Revolution: What Does it Mean for Our National Security?" McInerney — a Fox News contributor and former adviser to the Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign — will discuss how greater support for the ailing energy industry, in part, can contribute to a strong defense, increased national security, as well as benefiting U.S. interests overseas.

McInerney will speak earlier in the day at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., and will conclude his trip at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colo., on Friday.

The presentation is part of his tour of college campuses around the Southwest with the pro-energy group, Consumer Energy Alliance. Since last fall, the Houston-based group has promoted its Student Energy Series, which gives McInerney a forum to discuss his ideas about energy and tax policy and how those impact national security and terrorism.

Shawn Martini, CEA spokesman, said the series is aimed at college students, but the general public is invited.

"We're trying to engage students on college campuses around the country with the goal of broadening the conversation as to what the importance of (the industry) and some of the other areas the energy industry impacts," Martini said. "(The series will) hopefully bring some of the students out of the very hyper-local fights over hydraulic fracturing or over methane (pollution) and focus on some of the bigger-picture issues to hopefully broaden their horizons."

In a conference call on Wednesday, McInerney said the Obama administration is damaging U.S. security and economic interests.

"The legislation that this administration is trying to put through, I think, is very directly impacting in a very negative way our national security posture as well as our economic posture. The growth of our economy, I believe, is going to be and should be led by energy in this country. We cannot rebuild our military unless we have an economic growth of upwards of 4 percent a year. And the only thing that can get us out of that is our energy capability."

He also said that a Republican president could support a push to get Congress to lower the corporate tax rate, which is currently set at 35 percent. McInerney supports lowering it to 20 percent initially to attract more corporations to relocate their headquarters in the U.S.

McInerney said lower tax rates, especially for the energy sector, would help the U.S. defeat ISIS and terrorism.

"We cannot rebuild our military, which this administration has unilaterally disarmed, unless we have this economic development led by energy," he said.

One of the sponsors of the event is the local economic development organization, Four Corners Economic Development.

Ray Hagerman, the organization's CEO, said he is interested to hear what McInerney will have to say, especially as it applies to the San Juan Basin and the local economy, which is heavily reliant on the oil, gas and mining industries.

"I know that he does put a pretty strong emphasis on energy as a security measure and all that that might entail," Hagerman said.

Hagerman was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force, which he said adds to his interest in McInerney's presentation.

"You salute the rank ... so I will give him the benefit of the doubt because of the stars on his shoulder," he said. "It's good to hear somebody of that stature is coming to our community. I will definitely be there."

James Fenton is the business editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4621.

If you go

What: McInerney presentation

When: 6 p.m., Thurs. Feb. 25

Where: San Juan College, Henderson Fine Arts Center, Room 9008-12, 4601 College Blvd. in Farmington

Cost: Free — RSVP at energysecuritysanjuan.eventbrite.com

More info: Call 713-337-8800 or go to consumerenergyalliance.org