Senate Removes Restrictions That Limited Military Biofuel Spending

The US Senate inked a deal that strikes the restriction on military biofuel development. The governing body voted on Wednesday to remove restrictions in the annual defense policy bill that would have “severely limited” the military’s effort to develop biofuels for warplanes and jets, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Language pertaining to military biofuels was removed from the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a 62-37 vote. The wording would have reportedly prohibited the Armed Forces from buying alternatives fuels if they cost more than petroleum. The Senate is expected to vote on the entire NDAA in the coming days. Once the defense act gains approval, the reconciled version will be sent to the House of Representatives and then onto the Oval Office for President Barack Obama’s signature.

Clean Energy Program at the Pew Charitable Trusts Director Phyllis Cuttino had this to say about the military biofuels language change:

“This would have been a terrible signal to private investors if there had been a pullback from this program because what we all want is for these advanced biofuels to become commercialized and therefore cost competitive. You’re certainly not going to get there if private investors think there is a kind of on-again, off-again policy.”

Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden stated that spending on biofuel research and development would help bring costs down, according to The Hill. Military biofuel spending has been a controversial topic among both lawmakers and the taxpayers in recent years. Production of the first test batches of the new fuel for warplanes and jets reportedly cost many more times than standard petroleum.

The Air Force has been testing small batches of alternative fuels to show that it can be a reliable source once prices become more competitive with traditional petroleum. A batch of 11,000 gallons made earlier this year allegedly cost $59 per gallon to produce.