|5:27 PM EDT||
Scott Peters, D-CA 52nd
Mr. PETERS. I thank the gentlewoman for yielding.
Mr. Chairman, I rise as a cosponsor of this amendment, and I am glad to be working with Congresswoman Bonamici and my colleague on the Armed Services Committee, Ranking Member Adam Smith.
Our amendment simply allows the Department of Energy to continue its collaborative work with the Department of Defense to produce biofuels for the military.
The Department of Defense is the single largest institutional consumer of fuel in the world, and this is all about saving money because our military spends about $20 billion a year on energy, $16 billion of which goes to oil fuels.
As we have seen in recent years, global oil markets are volatile. And despite massive production increases in the United States, according to the Energy Information Administration, last year, our net imports of petroleum were 5 million barrels per day, with our top five suppliers being Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Venezuela, and Iraq. That reliance on a volatile, foreign-produced source of fuel puts our national security at risk, particularly when we face dynamic, new threats from nonstate actors
such as ISIS, al Qaeda, or individual terrorists who can disrupt oil production and supply lines in new and intimidating ways.
The constraints of depending so heavily on a single source of fuel also puts our readiness at risk, a problem that will only increase as we are forced to respond to international incidents across the globe at a moment's notice and as our military makes its strategic pivot toward the vast Pacific Ocean.
Instead of standing idly by and waiting for a fuel-supply crisis that would endanger our ability to confront those wanting to harm our country, the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Agriculture have been working with private sector innovators to develop renewable biofuels that could be used by planes, tactical vehicles, and ships.
The Navy already has innovative partnerships with algae producers and their high-skilled workers in my district in San Diego.
Congress should be laying the groundwork for more strategic public-private partnerships to develop like those in San Diego, not mandating that they cannot exist.
The military is not pursuing this fuel supply diversity because they are tree-hugging environmentalists but because it is a national security imperative.
Foolishly, today's COMPETES Act would bar the Department of Defense from working with the Department of Energy on developing biofuels. Why would we undercut an effort that our military commanders are for and say will save lives?