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Fri, Nov 30, 2012

Senate Passes Udall Amendment On Military Biofuel Purchase

Removes The Biofuel Restriction From 2013 National Defense Authorization Act

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill sponsored by Colorado Senator Mark Udall (D) removing provisions from the act that would have prevented the Department of Defense from using biofuels except in very limited circumstances. The vote, which passed by a 62-37 margin, followed a debate on the floor of the Senate and what Udall described as "months of behind-the-scenes work to build a coalition in support of his amendment."

“Our military is on the cutting edge technologically, but much of our fighting capability relies on foreign fossil fuels and decades-old power systems. That dependence has very real human and economic costs,” Udall (pictured) said. “(Wednesday’s) strong bipartisan vote affirms that we should allow our military leaders to continue to develop and use advanced alternative fuels in order to bring down costs and improve mission capabilities.”

Udall, who serves on both the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has been the leading proponent of allowing the Defense Department to develop and use alternative fuels.

Politico reports that Republican Senators James Inhofe (OK) and John McCain (AZ) had sought to block the biofuel purchase as "too expensive" with $500 billion in automatic defense cuts over the next 10 years looming on the horizon. They had each sponsored amendments to block the biofuel purchase during committee consideration of the bill, both of which passed the committee by a single vote. Inhofe said during Wednesday's debate that "This is something (the Department of Energy) should be doing if anybody is doing it." He argued that spending money on biofuels detracts from military readiness.

Nine Republicans joined all but two Democrats in supporting the Udall amendment.

Both the Air Force and the Navy have been conducting tests with biofuels powering their aircraft.

FMI: www.senate.gov

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