Democrats Push For More Alternative Fuels in the Military
Hoyer, Gordon, Udall Offer Amendment to DoD Authorization
In an effort to move the nation towards greater energy independence, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), House Science Committee Ranking Democrat Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN) and House Armed Services Committee Member Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO) submitted an amendment today to the Fiscal Year 2007 Department of Defense Authorization bill that would increase the use of alternative fuels in the military. The Department of Defense is the largest single buyer of fuel in America and must be a part of any energy independence effort.
"Energy independence is clearly a national security issue," said Hoyer. "Right now, America is forced to take into account the price of oil when making national security decisions - that is a dangerous position for our country. The recent spike in gas prices and global demand, as well as political instability in oil-producing nations, must serve as a wake-up call. We must invest in alternative fuels immediately, and the Defense Department, as the single largest buyer of fuel in the U.S., has to be a significant part of that effort. I am hopeful that the Rules Committee will make this amendment in order so that the full House may debate and support this important initiative."
"The Federal Government must be a leader in energy efficiency and independence. As it stands now, our nation's dependence on foreign energy is a threat to our national security and our global competitiveness. By boosting alternative energy programs at the Department of Defense and bridging the gap between innovative energy research and practical application, we can drastically reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I am hopeful that Congress will put aside partisan politics and approve this amendment," said Gordon.
"To improve real national security, we must improve our energy security. This amendment takes steps in that direction by boosting funds for advanced energy technologies and for alternative fuel infrastructure at military bases. As the single largest buyer of fuel in the U.S., the Defense Department has an opportunity - even an obligation - to lead the way in diversifying our energy portfolio. And no time could be better than the present. America's addiction to oil from any source means that our security is vulnerable and will continue to be until we have the vision to look beyond the gas pump," said Udall.
The three Members submitted the amendment to the House Rules Committee today and Whip Hoyer is expected to testify before the Committee this evening.
The amendment would shift more than $300 million in excess funds from the $9.1 billion proposed for ballistic missile defense programs. The amendment would authorize $250 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). Located in the Department of Energy, ARPA-E would encourage and support America's best and brightest researchers and scientists to develop the cutting-edge technology necessary to make America energy independent. As embodied in a bill by Rep. Gordon [H.R. 4435] and the Democrats' Innovation Agenda, ARPA-E would reduce energy imports from foreign sources by 20% within 10 years.
The amendment would also require the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of Energy and the Director of National Intelligence, to study and to report to Congress on the strategic implications of the nation's increasing demand on foreign oil on national security.
Finally, the amendment would include provisions offered by Rep. Udall in the Armed Services committee markup last week, and rejected by Republicans, that increase the funds available for the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), which buys and manages oil and other energy supplies for the military services, and to the Advanced Power Technology Office, which promotes the increased use of fuel cells, electric hybrids, batteries, advanced engines, and hydrogen for military and homeland defense vehicles and equipment. The DESC funding would be used to install and convert pump and tank infrastructure for alternative fuels, such as E-85 and biodiesel, at military bases around the country. The fueling infrastructure is needed to increase the actual use of alternative fuels.