Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 - Resumed

Floor Speech

By:  Tom Udall
Date: March 14, 2013
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. Mr. President, I would like to speak today on the Toomey amendment, No. 115. I rise to argue against the Toomey amendment.

This is an amendment about energy. As we all know, energy is a strategic resource for us. Every member of our Armed Forces understands this, and they understand it well. Energy is essential to our national security mission. Everybody knows you do not go out there and move in an aggressive way without good, solid energy supplies behind you. Having access to reliable energy supplies to protect our men and women in uniform is absolutely essential. No matter where they may be in the world, it is critical to our Nation that we have these good energy supplies.

Each branch of the Armed Forces recognizes the importance of biofuels as a critical part of its energy needs. Our military faces numerous logistical challenges with its dependence on fossil fuels. Increasing diversification through investment in alternative fuels will help the military carry out its mission safely and without the need to rely exclusively on foreign sources of fuel from countries that do not share our interests overseas.

The amendment offered by Senator Toomey, the Senator from Pennsylvania, trades some short-term benefits at the cost of our long-term needs. Reducing the Department of Defense's ability to procure biofuels by $60 million is a step in the wrong direction. Biofuels are an American industry, growing energy right here in our own backyard--energy at home, made in America.

In my own State, the Los Alamos National Lab is growing the next generation of algae feedstocks for future biofuels. We are doing some great research in this area of biofuels. We also have a biorefinery facility operated by Sapphire Energy near Columbus, NM. This facility is up and running and can produce 1.5 million gallons per year of fuel. That is fuel derived from these advanced-generation algae. This story is not unique to New Mexico. Texas, California, Missouri, and Iowa lead the United States in the number of biorefineries per State.

This amendment limits opportunities for bioenergy companies across the United States. Biofuels are a significant source of energy for the Department of Defense. We should provide as many opportunities as possible to grow this industry. We should maximize the long-term economic and national security benefits of U.S. biofuels.

It is for those reasons that I urge a ``no'' vote on the Toomey amendment.

I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.


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