The Department of Defense has recognized that domestic biofuels can help reduce our military’s dependence on foreign oil. Converting a portion of its energy use to advanced biofuels improves our national security and military readiness.
Unfortunately, Congress is moving to prevent the Department of Defense from purchasing biofuels. Reducing foreign oil consumption through increased use of biofuels makes sense, but fossil fuel interests are mustering their Congressional clout to prevent it. Congress should not put our men and women who serve in uniform at risk to benefit special interests.
The U.S. spends $80 billion each year to defend strategic geography of the international oil market. This puts our military in danger when renewable fuels provide a safer and more efficient alternative. Last year the U.S. imported 1.85 million barrels of oil per day from the Persian Gulf, at an average price of $103 per barrel, sending $69.3 billion to the Middle East. The U.S. should be sending that money to rural America, not the Middle East.
America’s family farmers and ranchers are ready to increase biofuel production, to protect America’s military and energy security. Although rural America makes up only 17 percent of the U.S. population, 44 percent of the military is rural citizens and their sons and daughters. Rural America has the resources and the know-how to produce clean renewable energy for our servicemen and women. Congress needs to get out of the way.
Renewable fuels can boost rural economies. Corn ethanol kept farmers on their land and created jobs in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Advanced biofuels can do the same today and tomorrow. Advanced biofuels mean new opportunities and jobs up and down the supply chain. At a time when the children of farmers and ranchers are moving into cities for jobs, advanced biofuels can be a catalyst for rural youth to stay and work in local communities. Our sailors and soldiers will have jobs to come home to.
The U.S. military needs to explore advanced biofuels for our nation’s energy security. Legislation that restricts the military from purchasing advanced biofuels is short-sighted and irresponsible.