Senate, House Armed Services Committees finalize NDAA of 2013

By Erin Voegele | December 19, 2012

The fiscal year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act is one step closer to becoming law. On Dec. 18, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced that the committee completed its conference on the NDAA. The same day, Rep. Howard McKeon, R-Calif., announced he would file the conference report on behalf of the conferees this evening to accompany the NDAA.

Last month, the Senate voted in favor of two amendments to allow the U.S. military to continue its work with advanced biofuels. One amendment, issued by Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., allows the U.S. Department of Defense to purchase biofuel product, even when it potentially costs more than fossil-based fuels. In addition, the amendment allows the DOD to continue efforts to scale up biorefineries.

The second amendment, issued by Den. Kay Hagan, D.-N.C., gives the DOD the ability to diversify its fuel mix, and allows the department to invest in the construction of biorefineries.

The Biotechnology Industry Organization has spoken out to thank members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees for finalizing the NDAA of 2013 and clearing the path for the DOE to participate in public-private partnerships to produced advanced biofuels.

“Military leaders have recognized that building a domestic advanced biofuels industry to produce cost-competitive fuels is a national security priority. They have responded to this need in the same way the United States has responded to similar challenges in the past—by proposing public-private partnerships to produce the needed materials,” said Jim Greenwood, BIO president and CEO. “Already, several private companies have made significant investments to develop advanced biofuels for military applications. The National Defense Authorization Act – with final passage by Congress and the President’s signature—will clear the path for the Department of Defense to participate with other federal agencies in partnership with these private companies to finish the job. Private investment is critical to ensuring that advanced biofuels become cost-competitive, reach commercial scale and can be widely used by the Department, the commercial aviation sector and others. Policy stability is crucial to maintaining investment in fuels that meet the U.S. military’s current mission needs and provide benefits for future needs. We thank the members of the conference committee for maintaining the current policy on the environmental profile of fuels.”