The U.S. Senate today approved Senator Kay Hagan's amendment to the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bipartisan amendment removed a provision from the bill that would have prohibited the Navy from partnering with the Agriculture and Energy Departments and private industry on an initiative to support advanced biofuel refineries.
"Our military leaders and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree that energy security is a national security imperative," said Hagan. "This innovative biofuels initiative harnesses the unique capabilities of three federal agencies and the private sector to help create refineries needed to produce advanced biofuels for the military. I am pleased that the Senate voted today to preserve a program important to our military and the country's long-term national defense."
As the largest single consumer of fuel in the world, the Department of Defense uses approximately 120 million barrels of oil each year - spending over $17 billion in FY11 on fuel. When the price of oil goes up one dollar, it costs the entire Defense Department over $100 million. Last year alone, high oil prices forced the Navy to spend an additional $500 million on fuel.
In July, the Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations, and the Marine Corps Commandant expressed their concern over the military's reliance on foreign fuel. "The demand for fuel in theater means we depend on vulnerable supply lines - the protection of which puts lives at risk. Our potential adversaries, both on land and at sea, understand this critical vulnerability and seek to exploit it. The Navy and Marine Corps have been aggressively evaluating how both energy efficiency and alternative sources of energy can provide tactical benefits to expeditionary forces."
"Investing in our nation's biofuels industry will also help create new markets for North Carolina's farmers and high-tech industries," said Hagan.
Cosponsors of Hagan's amendment included Senators Tim Johnson (SD), Susan Collins (ME), Mark Udall (CO), Patty Murray (WA), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Chuck Schumer (NY), Debbie Stabenow (MI), Chris Coons (DE), Joe Manchin (WV), and Tom Udall (NM).