A Republican-led group within the House Armed Services Committee recently voted to ban the U.S. Department of Defense from paying more for biofuels used for military vehicles than regular fuels, putting at risk hundreds of millions of dollars worth programs approved during the past few years for the purpose of cutting foreign-oil dependency, according to Talking Points Memo.
The projects that may be on the chopping block include the Air Force's testing of a blend of camelina (made from a mustard-like plant) and jet fuel for its Thunderbirds show-pilot team and the Navy's testing of other biofuels used in both ships and planes flown by its Blue Angels team. The biofuels programs had been enacted in part to cut some of the $300 billion in annual U.S. spending on crude oil as well as to boost revenue flowing through U.S. farms. Last year, the Pentagon said it pays around $400 a gallon for fuel in Afghanistan.
Last August, the USDA teamed with the Defense Department on a three-year, $510 million project that involved developing biofuels for the private sector. The prior month, ASTM International, which writes technical standards for global industries, green-lit the use of renewable fuels in military and commercial aircraft. Components of the renewable fuel were to come from sources such as algae, camelina, jatropha or tallow (animal fats).