Senate Panel Cuts Off Navy’s Biofuel Buys
The Navy’s ambitious renewable energy plans aren’t sunk quite yet. But they took a major hit Thursday, when the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to all-but-ban the military from buying alternative fuels.
Like their counterparts in the House, senators prohibited the Pentagon from buying renewable fuels that are more expensive than traditional ones — a standard that biofuels many never meet. In addition, the committee blocked the Defense Department from helping build biofuel refineries unless “specifically authorized by law” - just as the Navy was set to pour $170 million into an effort with the Departments of Energy and Agriculture to do precisely that.
The measures — amendments to the Pentagon’s budget for next year — were pushed by two Republicans. Sen. James Inhofe has long been one of the Republican’s fiercest critics of renewable energy efforts; Sen. John McCain has in recent years turned away from long-held eco-friendly positions.
“Adopting a ‘green agenda’ for national defense of course is a terrible misplacement of priorities,” McCain told National Journal Daily on Tuesday, calling it “a clear indication that the president doesn’t understand national security.”