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Senate Strikes Pentagon Green Fuel Ban From Defense Bill

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U.S. Navy photo

The Senate voted 62-37 Wednesday to eliminate language in the National Defense Authorization Act that would have prevented the Pentagon from purchasing biofuels if they cost more than petroleum, Reuters reports.

David Alexander writes the House’s version of the NDAA contains limits on biofuels and lawmakers must reconcile the two versions before sending a bill to the White House for signature.

According to Wired, this move could let the Navy move forward in developing its “Great Green Fleet” of ships and jets for deployment by 2016.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus wants the Navy to get half of its fuel from alternative sources by 2020, Wired reports.

Lawmakers have been concerned over the military’s biofuel initiatives because producing an initial set of those fuels for testing costs more than buying petroleum, according to Reuters.

In a letter to Senate leaders obtained by Wired, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and 37 other lawmakers wrote the Pentagon’s fuel bill reached $19 billion in fiscal year 2011 due to rising oil prices and market volatility.

Mabus believes biofuels can help shield the military from sharp price increases, according to Reuters, which calculated the Defense Department’s fuel bill would rise $130 million per year if a single barrel of oil goes up one dollar.

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