Elizabeth L. King, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs, last week wrote to the Senate Energy and Environment Committee about the importance of Sec. 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. This law requires that any alternative fuels purchased by the federal government be better from an environmental perspective than the petroleum-based fuels they’re currently purchasing. King noted:
Further, repeal or exemption [of Section 526] could hamper the Department’s efforts to provide better energy options to our warfighters and further increase America’s reliance on non-renewable fuels. Our dependence on those types of fuels degrades our national security, negatively impacts our economy, and harms the environment.
I also believe that there are significant developments in America’s advanced biofuel industry that hold promise for meeting military needs. Repeal or exemption of Section 526 would send a negative signal to the industry, which could result in adverse impacts to U.S. job creation, competitiveness, and rural development efforts.
BIO has supported maintaining Section 526 and increasing the military’s use of biofuels. BIO wrote a letter to Congressional leaders last week, and has penned several opinion pieces, including one on BiotechNOW. BIO’s Brent Erickson participated in a Congressional Briefing on the importance of Section 526, giving this presentation. The DOD even even weighed in on the issue on the White House blog.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee may see additional efforts to repeal or weaken Sec. 526. They should instead look for opportunities to strengthen national security by increasing energy security. They’ve been tweeting about the issue and BIO’s support, at @SenateEnergy.