Military Biofuels Ban Moves Forward, Ignites Criticism, Backlash
by Meg Cichon (Renewable Energy World) As a proposed ban on military investment and use of biofuels inches closer to fruition in Washington, several groups are speaking out against the bill.
Pentagon Budget Bill, H.R. 4310, which recently passed through the Senate Armed Services Committee with a 13-12 vote and the House with a 299-120 vote, blocks the military from purchasing and investing in biofuels if they are more expensive than fossil fuels. The bill also exempts previous restrictions on liquid alternative fuels derived from coal and natural gas, which emit more carbon than traditional fossil fuels.
A coalition of 13 aviation groups have banded together to protest the decision, claiming in a letter to the Senate Committee that the bill would severely damage the advancement of the biofuels industry and hinder American energy independence. The coalition also argued that further investment in bioenergy will help reach their fuel efficiency and carbon emissions targets, which include a lofty goal of a 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 from 2005 targets.
…Liberal-activist group CREDO Action has also started a petition addressed to Republican Senators and Representatives to stop the bill from moving forward.
…U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack expressed his disbelief and frustration with the Committee’s decision during a conference call last week. …costs have already come down. The Navy purchased biofuels in October 2010 at $424 per gallon, but paid $26.67 per gallon in December 2011, which will be demonstrated in a 50/50 blend of biofuel and petroleum that costs $15 per gallon during this month’s Rim of the Pacific Exercise in Hawaii. READ MORE and MORE (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) and MORE (Forbes) and MORE (AIN) READ Letter