Schumer urges Army to honor terms of 2014 agreement with ReEnergy

By Erin Voegele | May 10, 2019

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has spoken out to urge the U.S. Army to fully honor the terms of a 20-year agreement it negotiated with ReEnergy in 2014 to provide power to Fort Drum, a military installation in New York.

Schumer released a statement May 8 discussing an in-person meeting he had with General James C. McConville, the nominee to become the chief of staff of the U.S. Army. During the meeting, Schumer urged McConville and top military brass to continue their long-standing support of Fort Drum.

According to Schumer, he has encouraged McConville and the Army to fully honor the terms of the 20-year power purchase agreement the Army negotiated with ReEnergy in 2014. That agreement makes Fort Drum the nation’s only military installation that is 100 percent energy independent, self-sustaining and off-the grid.

“During my meeting with General McConville, I made it clear that the Army must keep prioritizing the construction of a new railhead on Fort Drum—the top priority for installation officials because it will enhance vital mission readiness—as I continue my efforts to secure funding for the sorely-needed project,” Schumer said. “I also urged him and the Army to fully honor its contract with ReEnergy, which supports good-paying jobs in the North Country and enhances Fort Drum’s energy security and reliability. If an attack on the power grid were to occur, the Black River Facility ensures that Fort Drum could continue to meet readiness requirements without disruption.”

Schumer helped facilitate the 2014 contract between the Army and ReEnergy. Under that contract, Fort Drum receives renewable, on-site biomass energy from ReEnergy for 20 years. Information released by Schumer’s office states news reports have indicated that the Army has proposed ending or significantly amending the contract, despite ReEnergy meeting all performance requirements and investing $50 million into the facility. Schumer explained that such an action would not only jeopardize hundreds of good paying jobs in Upstate New York, but it would undermine Fort Drum’s ability to respond to the growing threat of cyber-attacks on energy grids. Schumer added that such an action would have a negative impact on all future agreements because bidders will price into contracts the risk that the Army may change its mind mid-contract. For these reasons, Schumer voiced support for the contract in his meeting with General McConville.