Domestic Fuel Bill for National Security

Cindy Zimmerman

The “Domestic Fuel for Enhancing National Security Act” has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) introduced the bill which would authorize the Department of Defense to continue its leading role in helping to commercialize next generation biofuels by extending the multi-year contracting authority for advanced biofuels from 5 years to 15 years. In his speech introducing the legislation, Inslee quote Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who recently commented that the Defense Department uses 300,000 barrels of oil every day. “”The energy use per soldier creeps up every year. And our number-one import into Afghanistan is fossil fuel.” Admiral Mullen understands how critical an energy supply is to a combat troop; but how safe are our troops if this oil comes from overseas? Our defense sector should adopt more sustainable fuels, which can be produced here in the United States; for the security of our troops.”

Brent Erickson with the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) says the bill would help scale up advanced biofuel production in the United States. “Expanding the military’s ability to engage in long-term contracts could provide leading companies and potential investors the certainty they look for before committing capital to large-scale biofuel production,” said Erickson. “The Department of Energy, for instance, has been asking for long-term off-take agreements as an eligibility requirement for its loan guarantee program.”

Erickson notes that the Department of the Navy recently established goals to cut petroleum use in the commercial fleet in half by 2015 and ensure 50 percent of its total energy consumption comes from alternative sources by 2020. “In order to reach the Navy’s goal, there needs to be a dramatic scaling up of advanced biofuel production in the United States. Investment in environmentally responsible technologies lessens dependence on imported fossil fuels,” he said.

BIO, biofuels, Government