Toomey amendments would reallocate military funding for biofuels

By Erin Voegele | March 18, 2013

On March 14, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., filed two amendments that aim to strip biofuel spending from H.R. 933, a military appropriations bill. The bill, titled the “Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013,” is being considered by the Senate. According to a statement posted to the U.S. Senate Democrats website, the Senate was unable to reach an agreement to vote in relation to the Toomey amendments last week. Additional action on the bill is expected to be taken today.

One amendment offered by Toomey would transfer $60 million in funding currently allocated for the U.S. Department of Defense’s biofuel program under the heading for advanced drop-in biofuel production, and reassign it to support military operation and maintenance expenses of the DOD in connection with programs, projects and activities in the continental United States. The second amendment would reduce the amount of funding allocated to the military’s alternative energy research by a total of $114 million. The funding would also be reallocated for operation and maintenance expenses. Of the $114 million, $37 would be stripped from allocations to the Army, $40 million from allocations made to the Navy, and $37 from allocations for the Air Force.

A statement posted to Toomey’s website specifies that he authored these amendments after learning that the Tobyhanna Army Depot plans to lay off 418 civilian contract employees. The money diverted from the biofuel programs is supposed to help avoid these and similar layoffs. “Given tightening budgets, it makes little sense to waste money on inefficient, overpriced energy sources when we could use those same funds to help support critical maintenance services for the warfighter,” he said in the statement.

However, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has long argued that biofuels are an integral part of the military’s energy future and America’s energy security. Last summer, the Navy successfully demonstrated its Great Green Fleet. 




5 Responses

  1. Cliff Claven



    The high prices for all military-grade (i.e., hydrotreated "drop-in") biofuels reflect their overwhelmingly negative energy balances and huge hidden fossil fuel dependencies. RAND, the US National Academy of Sciences, the German National Academy of Sciences, and now many environmental and humanitarian groups around the world have recognized liquid biofuels for the unmitigated disaster they are. Europe is rolling back biofuel mandates to no more than 5% for food crop ethanol even as the clueless and politically-motivated US EPA is trying to push from E10 to E15 corn gasohol. The myth of non-food cellulosic ethanol is also being exposed with the bankruptcy of KL Energy/Blue Sugars/Western Biomass Fuels; the continued investor cash burn rates of KiOR, INEOS Bio, Zeachem, etc. without any prospect of profitable production; and the migration of Gevo, Amyris, Primus Green Energy, Coskata and Calysta from cellulosic feedstock to natural gas. There is no longer even the pretense of biofuels being about reduced GHG or replacing fossil fuels. It is now revealed to be just a brazen pursuit of taxpayer dollars in the form of farm program subsidies, production tax credits and RFS RINs. This is ADM and Cargill and POET and Honeywell UOP against America.

  2. Sally



    The military has already received millions of tax payer dollars. Have they shown they should be getting any more funding? It is possible that the DoE could better handle this research.

  3. Wesley



    The facts that Cliff lined out above are simply not true. Biofuels will play a huge role in producing domestic fuel. We need everything, Keystone XL, Shale Oil and Biofuels. The current ethanol supply is a billion gallons more than what Keystone, ND Shale and Bakken oil fields could produce at full capacity combined. Proving the importance. EPA is not pushing from E10 to E15..they are adding E15 as an option. America is about competition..the oil owned retail, supply and distribution systems limit that competition, which means Americans and consumers lose. Ethanol is consistently cheaper than gasoline, so why do oil companies not use it? Nothing is more odd, than someone who claims to be a patriot..preaching against a fuel that is American made, and that keeps money in American pockets.

  4. Julian Magnus



    Let's see, the DOD wants to spend .00005 of its budget on an RnD option that would make us less dependent on oil that makes folks outside the USA TRILLIONS of dollars (and some folks in the USA billions). Gee, you think maybe those folks might call up their pet congressman (already his election fund) for a chat? Or would it be better to run a PR program? "Biofuels are bad!" has a good sound to it. Probably the best method would be to buy the biofuel companies and have them implode. Done well, they might even make money while being destroyed. Oooo, all 3! Costs less than .000001 of profits. Cheap insurance. Basic empire management 101. Worked (for awhile) in the 4th century. It'll work (for awhile) in the 21st.

  5. Julian Magnus



    BTW this comment thing just ate some of my comment... Guess it thought my punctuation was html or something. Not a big deal, but since I cut and pasted it into the form, I will place the missing chunk here (with changed punctuation):_______line space_____________ ... congressman (already paid for or donated to his election fund) for a chat... _________line space / paragraph___________ Also, if I might suggest: Make this comment thing handle line feeds for paragraphs. This "run it all in one blob" look is poor looking. _________paragraph__________ I do like the simple math question idea though. I suspect it weeds out some less verbal commenters as well as spam.


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