Fuel Flip

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A potential ally for the biofuel industry slipped away when the Senate Armed Services Committee voted on an amendment to block the Pentagon from buying alternative fuels that are more expensive than traditional ones.

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has several plants in his home state, says Michael McAdams, president of the Advanced Biofuels Association. “Why wouldn’t you support your own people for, Pete’s sake,” McAdams asks.

But the Louisiana senator contends that now is not the time to shell out for the new fuels.

“Sen. Vitter supports an ‘all of the above’ energy policy, but he doesn't support mandating the Pentagon to overspend funds on more expensive fuels -- especially when our federal spending is already too high and our military is already facing deep sequestration cuts,” says Vitter spokesman Joel DiGrado.

The biofuels issue is still in play in the Senate. Efforts are under way to repeal the provision blocking the military from purchasing biofuels in the defense authorization bill.

It also will surface when the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee takes up its bill, possibly later this summer.

But will the support remain? RAND this week reported that the Pentagon could cut its fuel costs by reducing consumption rather than buying new fuels. Graham Warwick has the details.

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