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US Senate Armed Services Committee produces markup limiting DoD purchase of biofuels and prohibiting construction of biorefineries

The US Senate Committee on Armed Services completed its markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. The bill emerging from the Senate committee authorizes $631.4 billion for national defense programs. The bill authorizes $498.0 million more than the President’s request for the base budget of DOD and $301.0 million less than was requested for OCO ( overseas contingency operations, which funds the war in Afghanistan). The bill authorizes $431.0 million less than the requested level of funding for national security programs of the DOE.

Among the many provisions of the markup are (a) a provision that would prohibit the use of funds authorized to be appropriated to the Department of Defense (DoD) in FY 2013 from being obligated or spent for the production or sole purchase of an alternative fuel if the cost exceeds the cost of traditional fossil fuels used for the same purpose, except for continued testing purposes; and (b) a provision prohibiting the construction of a biofuels refinery or any other facility or infrastructure used to refine biofuels unless the requirement is specifically authorized by law.

The DoD authorization legislation must now be debated on the Senate floor and ultimately conferenced with the House version.

The votes in the Armed Services Committee on both provisions were narrow: 13-12. In favor were Senators Webb, Manchin, McCain, Inhofe, Sessions, Chambliss, Wicker, Brown, Portman, Ayotte, Graham, Cornyn, and Vitter. Opposed were Senators Levin, Lieberman, Reed, Akaka, Nelson, McCaskill, Udall, Hagan, Begich, Shaheen, Gillibrand, and Blumenthal.

Novozymes, the leading producer of enzymes that turn biomass into biofuels, called the Senate committee’s decision to block DoD’s use of domestically-made renewable energy to power its vehicles a “lost opportunity.”

If you look at the support for energy programs in the farm bill, we know the Senate understands the huge impact renewable fuels are having. Fueled by private investment, they are adding to America’s mix of domestic energy, reducing prices for consumers and freeing us of foreign influence. Today’s vote, however, was a lost opportunity. Biofuels are reducing costs for US consumers more than a dollar a gallon—and we should let that innovation do the same for our military. We look forward to working with our allies in the Senate and helping the military achieve its cost-reduction and transportation goals.

—Adam Monroe, President of Novozymes North America



The Republicans have gridlocked government to kill progress and embarrass Democrats. Now, even basic steps to replace oil are crushed - while their corrupt 100 year oil subsidies abound.

96% of humanity knows America was run by an election fraud with the fewer votes. US citizens paid with corrupt "no bid" wars on non-existent WMDs to the point of global financial meltdown.

The Nazis had a maximum 37% of the German vote, yet would admire the Patriot Act attack on personal freedoms and use of warrant-less surveillance.

Meanwhile, Republicans remain perfectly happy pocketing $100s of dollars per gallon on "no bid" refueling contracts at US front line occupation bases in the Middle-East.


The Democrats have done a fine job of emabarassing themselves on the green front, what with all of the money they've blown on green boondoggles.

No Republicans required.


Green R&D won't touch the $trillions Republicans wasted on oil wars.

So the Republican answer is to commit 'more of the same'. "No Republicans required." makes sense.

If initial new US grown biofuels cost 4X the oil market, that's still a fraction of what Cheney's pension(aka Halliburton) charges the US soldier and taxpayer for delivered fuel.

No need to pretend Republican Senators kill oil alternatives for budget or patriotism..

Expanding Halliburton probe confirms Bush administration is most corrupt in US history



It seems obvious that somebody has taken over this important Committee and it may not be in the best interest of the Nation but to favor interested groups.


....for the people, by the people....is being bypassed once again.


Is it? The people don't want to pay ridiculous prices for energy...if you listen closely, you'll hear them say so in November.

There's no reason for the military to do so, either. R&D is fine - and this bill still permits that. But buying alternative fuels for multiples of the price of regular fuels is just stupid. Get those green fuels down to a competitive price, and let's talk.


A few years ago, flat screen TVs were $thousands each. Because they were produced, they are now only $hundreds. Biofuel prices would fall as well.

Reagan ripped solar energy systems off the White House and said, "..I don't worry about the deficit. It's big enough to take itself." The shrubs made it worse.

A man who flunked out of college several times with cowardice including 6 student deferments determined US energy and war policy - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Cheney

How's that worked out for us?

Science made us space travelers in 12 years.

Politics, mainly Republican, has wasted 38 years without replacing oil.


The R party has a lot of powerful and rich supporters to pay back. That will mean another very large transfer of wealth from the middle class to the R supporters. Another 8 (R) years could mean another drastic reduction of the middle class and a similar increase of the lower class.

Is that what the majority wants?


It is truly remarkable how the Republicans have managed to brainwash large segments of the US middle class to vote against their own self interests.


Matthew, the Republicans have nearly destroyed our economy with financial deregulation, unjustified wars that bankrupt our finances, and tax cuts for their rich friends. Now they want our military to stop seeking alternatives to our dangerous dependency on foreign oil.

They want to weaken our national defense to support the Saudis and their rich private benefactors. Are you with them and against us? They approach treason in their unwillingness to put the national defense of our country first.


It is truly remarkable how the Republicans have managed to brainwash large segments of the US middle class to vote against their own self interests.

Dick Cheney; http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show/#47544497


BTW, I note that one of the guys who voted for these provisions is James Inhofe. Inhofe has received $1,352,523 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry, including $90,950 from Koch Industries. :^/

Of course the money might only be incidental; http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/03/09/441515/inhofe-god-says-global-warming-is-a-hoax/

Henry Gibson

There is not enough land in any country, including the US or Russia to produce enough bio-fuels for even a tenth of their energy needs, and any production of bio-fuels, except from sewage or waste that would have gone into landfills is misuse of public funds. It is also a misuse of public funds to not produce all military fuel used in the US from coal, since it can be done far cheaper than from oil whose price is kept high by the money speculators took from the public in the economy collapse and is now used to take more with high oil and energy prices. ..HG..

John McAvoy

HG, Please cite your authorities for your 5/29 bloviation. (rectal extraction does not qualify)


"production or sole purchase of an alternative fuel if the cost exceeds the cost of traditional fossil fuels used for the same purpose"

That might be pushing it a bit too much, perhaps increase it a bit to encourage production of biofuels, but paying $26 a gallon for bio-diesel is green-abuse of the military budget.

The 10% ethanol blend requirement has done wonders for corn ethanol, perhaps we can require a 5% blend for bio-diesel in all vehicles, to start with. Same thing should be done with GTL and CTL fuels, a small percentage should be required in the blend to promote growth of the industry.


The use of fuel by the military tends to be high during periods of conflict but low in times of peace. Production of biofuels OTOH is more steadystate, so apart from the fact "there is not enough land in any country, including the US or Russia to produce enough bio-fuels for even a tenth of their energy needs" the military could stockpile biofuels during low use times for later use in war.

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