|5:20 PM EDT||
Suzanne Bonamici, D-OR 1st
Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, I rise today to address an issue of national security.
The Department of Defense is the world's largest institutional consumer of fuel. As a result, the volatility of oil prices directly affects military readiness. Every $10 increase on a barrel of oil costs the Department of Defense an additional $1.3 billion a year.
To reduce our military's and our Nation's dependence on a single source of fuel, the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Agriculture have been working closely over the past 4 years with the private sector to scale up an advanced ``drop-in'' biofuel production capability.
One of those projects is in Lakeview, Oregon, where a forest biomass plant will produce fuel for the U.S. Navy and Marines. It is one of three companies selected by the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Agriculture to produce cost-competitive drop-in military biofuels. Once at scale, these biorefineries will have a combined capacity to produce 100 million gallons of fuel for military ships and planes while reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent compared to conventional fuels.
Our military and Nation are faced with a growing global demand for energy. We need to have a greater emphasis on renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies. Yet, without any apparent logic, this bill would prohibit the Department of Energy--the lead agency with deep, technical expertise in this area--from partnering with the Department of Defense to develop biofuels.
The amendment that I am offering strikes this prohibition and would allow the Departments of Energy and Defense to continue their efforts to learn from each other's expertise.
Mr. Chairman, I will introduce into the Record a letter opposing the prohibition from the Truman National Security Project, where they note--these are retired military--that 4 years of partnership between the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Agriculture have seen impressive progress in the development of advanced drop-in biofuels that will allow the military to turn away from an outdated fuel source. Members of the military from every rank and service have spoken out in favor of the
continued investment in biofuels for the reasons of cost and capability.
April 21, 2015.
Hon. LAMAR SMITH,
Hon. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON,
House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Washington, DC.
DEAR CHAIRMAN SMITH AND RANKING MEMBER JOHNSON: The American military is the greatest fighting force the world has ever seen. The United States Congress has the critical responsibility of empowering our military leaders by equipping that force with the tools they need to engage effectively in a world of ever-increasing security threats. Accordingly, we urge you to withdraw the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015, which would bar the Department of Energy from continuing a four-year
collaboration with the Departments of Defense and Agriculture to develop cost-effective advanced biofuels.
Time and again throughout our history, the military has chosen to innovate towards new solutions. While the advances resulting from these efforts have often benefited our nation as a whole, they are undertaken not for the sake of novelty or adventure but to fill a key operational or tactical need. Advanced biofuels fills such a need: Reducing the dangerous dependence of the U.S. military on fossil fuels.
The Department of Defense is the world's largest institutional consumer of fuel. With approximately $15 billion per year budgeted simply to maintain freedom of movement, the U.S. military is dangerously sensitive to the volatility of oil prices; a $10 change in the price per barrel of crude oil leaves the Department of Defense with a $1.3 billion shortfall and sees increased profits to countries who oppose our interests around the world. And because oil is priced in a global market, no amount
of domestic production can insulate the military from these effects.
We have learned firsthand that oil truly is the Achilles' heel of our military. With most [Page: H3457]
of the world's oil traveling through two or three major chokepoints, the military must allocate significant manpower and resources to keeping those sea lanes open and secure. Moreover, as the military transitions from large-scale land engagements in the Middle East and towards a broader engagement in the Asia-Pacific, the costs and logistical challenges associated
with moving fuel over thousands of miles of ocean will only increase.
The threat of oil dependence along with the need for energy security isn't going away any time soon. And we shouldn't impede progress of alternatives that are moving forward now. Four years of partnership between the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Agriculture have seen impressive progress in the development of advanced, ``drop in'' biofuels that will allow the military to turn away from an outdated fuel source. Top line military platforms as diverse as the super-sonic F/A-18 ``Green Hornet,''
the Air Force's F16 fighter jets, the MH-60S Seahawk helicopter, the AV-8B Harrier, the Fire Scout unmanned vehicle, the Riverine Command Boat (RCB-X) and the frigate USS Ford have all operated at full capacity and with no averse side effects using American-made biofuels.
Members of the military from every rank and service have spoken out in favor of the continued investment in biofuels for reasons of cost and capabilities alike. These voices, rather than political leanings or parochial interests, must steer national security policy. Accordingly, we urge you to withdraw the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 and to ensure that the U.S. military is free to pursue the fuel sources its leaders deign necessary for maximum operational and tactical success.
Executive Director, Truman National Security Project Army Captain (Fmr.).
RADM Leendert ``Len'' Hering,
Lt Gen Norman Seip,