Senate approves amendment to keep military biofuel funding

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Nov. 28, 2012- The Senate approved Senator Mark Udall's, D-Colo., amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) this afternoon. The amendment, passed with a 62-37 vote, allows the Department of Defense to invest in biofuels. 

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The only Democrats to vote against the amendment were Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jim Webb of Virginia.

Udall's amendment repeals section 313 of the NDAA. Section 313, offered by Senator James Inhofe, R-Okla., and adopted in Committee, prohibits DoD from procuring alternative fuels if they cost more than their conventional counterparts. Inhofe maintained that the Department of Energy should have this responsibility instead of Defense.

Inhofe and Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., both had measures to block DoD biofuel funding, claiming biofuels are too expensive, particularly with $500 billion of defense cuts over 10 years scheduled under sequestration.

However, National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson said today the amendment will allow the DoD to move away from foreign oil reliance and towards commercialization of advanced biofuels produced in the United States.

“The earlier proposed prohibitions that were in place in the NDAA would have been harmful to farmers, ranchers, the advanced biofuels industry and our national security” he said. “The DoD spends more than $11 billion each year on fossil fuels. Each time the price of a barrel of oil increases by $10, it costs DOD another $1.4 billion.”

The DoD asked Congress to fund $70 million of this initiative as seed money to build or retrofit refineries to produce advanced biofuels.

“Military leaders and security experts believe these initiatives are vital to our military's energy security,” said Mike Breen, Executive Director of the Truman Project and spokesman for its clean energy campaign, Operation Free.

“Our dependence on oil as a single source of transportation fuel endangers our national and economic security,” he said, adding that and “any rise in oil prices leaves the DoD on the hook for millions or even billions in additional fuel costs.”

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