House Passes Rep. Israel Amendment Aimed at Fostering DOD Purchase and Recycling of Used Motor Oil to Reduce Energy Use
As Nation's Largest Consumer of Energy, Rep. Israel Urges Innovative Way to Lessen DOD's Dependence on Foreign Oil and Reduce Carbon Emissions
Today, U.S. Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY), co-chair of the Defense Energy Working Group, announced House passage of an amendment aimed at fostering the purchase and refining of used motor vehicle lubricating oil for Department of Defense (DOD) energy needs. Israel's amendment will require the DOD to evaluate the feasibility of closed loop recycling of used oil as a means of reducing total indirect energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions.
"The Pentagon's dependence on foreign oil is not just a strain on our federal budget and environment, it's also a national security vulnerability," said U.S. Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY), founder of the Defense Energy Working Group. "We need to take immediate steps to replace foreign oil used by the military with sources of energy that can be derived domestically. By requiring the DOD to evaluate how it could purchase and utilize used motor oil that has been re-refined, we can put a sizeable dent into foreign oil used by the federal government's most voracious consumer."
Re-refining motor oil conserves energy by extending the life of a nonrenewable resource. DOD already uses some re-refined oil and it even has a closed loop re-refined oil program. Expanding these programs is one small but important way the military can help conserve energy and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
Re-refining (or recycling) allows used oil that would otherwise be burned or dumped to be refined again and used for its originally intended purpose, just as when it was virgin oil. According to the American Petroleum Institute, re-refining used lubricating oil takes 50 to 85 percent less energy than refining crude oil. Through closed loop recycling, DOD would buy re-refined oil for use in its vehicles, sell their used oil back to re-refiners to be recycled, and then continue that cycle.
Israel has been urging the DOD (the nation's largest consumer of energy) to address the national security vulnerability resulting from its dependence on foreign oil. The Department of Defense (DOD) spent $13.6 billion on energy in 2006, using 340,000 barrels of oil per day. In 2006, Israel formed the Defense Energy Working Group with his colleague Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) and former CIA Director R. James Woolsey. Founded on the premise that the military's dependence on energy is a national security vulnerability, the Working Group identifies challenges associated with this dependence and recommends logistical and policy solutions.
If the DOD finds that closed loop recycling of used motor oil can reduce total indirect energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions without significant increase in overall cost to the DOD, Israel's amendment directs the Secretary of Defense to implement policies to require closed loop recycling of used oil whenever feasible. Israel's amendment was passed today by the House of Representatives as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization of 2009 (H.R. 5658).