Cruz aims to declaw energy security hawks with appropriations amendment

May 12, 2016 |

BD TS 051316 Cruz smIn Washington, news arrived from Advanced Biofuels USA that the “Defense Department Budget put together by Republican leadership would stop the US Navy from buying biofuels for the Fleet. This would end the “Great Green Fleet” and related projected that Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has heroically pushed despite great opposition.”

The Def Con 2 alert from the biofuels educational and advocacy group noted a House Subcommittee draft for defense appropriations, which had this language in Section 8132:

None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to enforce section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007(Public Law 110-140; 42 U.S.C. 17142).

However, the Navy’s Director for Operational Energy, Chris Tindal, confirmed to The Digest, regardless of the House budget bill, DLA Energy will still be able to purchase advanced biofuels if they are cost competitive and meet the MILSPEC.

Cruz goes on the offensive against advanced biofuels

“The Cruz amendment to the Senate version of the NDAA could be more damaging than this Section 8132,” a Washington source told The Digest, referring to a proposed amendment offered by to the National Defense Authorization Act by defeated Presidential candidate Ted Cruz of Texas, joined lately in the effort by James Inhofe of Oklahoma.

A section of the Cruz amendment

A section of the Cruz amendment

That proposed amendment would add any financial contributions from a Federal agency other than the Department of Defense, including the Commodity Credit Corporation under the Department of Agriculture, for the purpose of reducing the total price of the fuel,” after “commodity price of the fuel” — when it comes to calculating the full burdened cost of drop-in fuels.

The 2011 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Departments of the Navy, Energy and Agriculture resulted in a commitment by each department to expedite the commercialization timeline of U.S. advanced drop-in aviation and marine biofuels. The private sector also must at least match the federal investment in this effort. Under the Administration program, bidders on Navy military biofuels contracts have been able to access up to $170 million Commodity Credit Corporation funds designed to “buy down” the cost of US-produced biofuels feedstock, with an aim of stimulating development of the crops and residues in question. The Obama Administration’s military biofuels program was predicated on a partnership between the Navy and the Department of Agriculture to develop both the feedstock and production capacity for military biofuels.

10 organizations offer support

This week, 10 organizations wrote to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week to express support for “the public-private initiative to develop an American, sustainable, advanced drop-in biofuel industry for military and other purposes, and we urge the Committee to oppose efforts to undermine it during the consideration of the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.”

The groups signing the memorandum were the Advanced Biofuels Association, Air Line Pilots Association, Airlines for America, Algae Biomass Organization, American Council on Renewable Energy, American Farm Bureau Federation, Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Growth for Energy, National Farmers Union, and the Pew Project on National Security Energy & Climate.

A section of the renewable fuels industry response on military appropriations

A section of the renewable fuels industry response on military appropriations

The groups noted that ’”in FY 2014, the DoD consumed 87.4 million barrels of fuel to deploy and sustain global missions. The Department’s efforts to rebalance to the Pacific will further raise the demand for fuels as operations are conducted across larger distances In light of this strategic shift, DoD has prioritized the reduction of risk from operational energy vulnerabilities in its 2016 Operational Energy Strategy. Advanced biofuels provide DoD with the enhance capability to acquire fuel from a broad variety of sources while lowering supply chain risk.

“In addition to promoting a more diverse energy portfolio for the military and greater operational flexibility, the DoD’s commitment to advanced biofuels has helped attract world-leading private sector investments in the U.S. of more than $4.9 billion since 2007.”

The military fuels backstory

A global force for good: The Digest’s Multi-Slide Guide to the US Navy’s military biofuels program

Navy to launch Great Green Fleet with 77 million gallon buy of cost-competitive, non-food advanced biofuels blends

Great Green Fleet: The Digest’s 2016 8-Slide Guide to the US Navy’s transition to renewable fuels

ARA ships 100% drop-in biofuels for Navy certification

Evolva to develop plant-based, fire-resistant advanced materials with US Navy

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