A report from an environmental group warns that the loss of the U.S. military’s biofuels program means a loss of potential jobs and economic activity in the civilian sector. Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) says the Department of Defense’s plans to expand its use of biofuel in planes, ships and other vehicles would generate at least about $10 billion in economic activity and create more than 14,000 jobs by 2020. But Congressional plans could curb all that:
[U]nder the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that Congress is expected to take up in the next several weeks, the military – the nation’s biggest user of oil and gasoline – would be prohibited from expanding its use of biofuel.
“The military often leads major economic transitions in our country – think about aviation, communications or the Internet,” said Nicole Lederer, co-founder of E2, whose 800-plus members include business executives and investors who advocate for sound environmental policy that can lead to economic prosperity.
“Yet right now in Washington, some shortsighted lawmakers are poised to block a potentially major transformation of our national energy supply – and also hold back the significant economic growth and job gains that would come with it,” she said.
Russ Teall, president and founder of biorefinery builder Biodico, which recently signed an agreement to provide advanced biofuels to the U.S. Navy, said:
“The military is the biggest driver of the biofuel industry right now. If Congress stops the military from doing what the military knows is best, Congress also could threaten the growth of the Made-in-America biofuel industry.”
The report goes on to point out that military developments particularly in the aviation field could help the commercial airline industry expand its use of biofuels.