Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is “disappointed” in recent Congressional action that would cut the use of biofuels by the military.
“We are extremely disappointed in that vote because I think it fails to recognize and appreciate the enormous potential of this industry to revitalize the rural economy,” said Vilsack during a conference call today when asked specifically about a vote last week by the Senate Armed Services Committee that would prohibit the military from spending money on alternative fuels. “I certainly hope that as this process continues folks will understand the negative impact such a vote has on rural America and will decide that the Navy, USDA and Department of Energy are on the right track to produce these new fuels.” The House Armed Services committee is considering a similar amendment to the defense spending bill.
Vilsack, pictured here during a visit to Pearl Harbor earlier this year to talk about military use of biofuels, said it is the right policy for the country. “People have got to understand we should not be so overly reliant on others for the supply of fuel,” he said, noting that commercial airlines are also very interested in the development of aviation biofuels.
The secretary indicated that he believes the oil industry is behind the movement in Congress to keep the military from using alternative fuels, just as oil interests are working to get rid of the Renewable Fuel Standard. “Because it is becoming a competitive alternative, and that is a good thing,” he said.
Listen to Vilsack’s comments here: Vilsack press conference questions