Yesterday, the Senate passed the S.3254, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a vote of 98-0. Earlier, before reaching the Senate Floor, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) voted to include two amendments which would have made it much more difficult for the Department of Defense (DOD) to procure advanced biofuels and build biofuel refineries capable of safely powering planes and maritime vessels. ALPA joined with aerospace manufacturers, farmers, airlines, biofuel producers and non-governmental national security organizations to strip the NDAA of this problematic language. Our coalition was successful in garnering wide bipartisan support for an amendment offered by Senator Udall (D-CO) which stripped language included by Senator Inhofe (R-OK). We were also successful in pushing the Senate to adopt an amendment offered by Senator Hagan (D-NC) which stripped additional problematic language included by Senator McCain (R-AZ). As our industry faces ongoing challenges regarding fuel costs and calls to decrease our carbon footprint, ALPA continues to take a proactive role in addressing both of these challenges.
Military leaders have identified their reliance on fossil fuels as a national security threat. As with many other cutting-edge technologies such as jet engines, the purchasing power of the U.S. Military can pave the way for civilian use of these technologies. The push by DOD to procure advanced biofuels began under former President George W. Bush and continues today. ALPA has supported the military’s efforts in this area because fuel is the number one cost to the airline industry, and the development of alternative fuels will be an important key to the future health of our jobs and our industry. ALPA and our coalition partners are confident that our support of DOD will allow them to make the market for advanced biofuels and drive private investment in this critical sector, eventually reducing the price of advanced biofuels so our industry can benefit. If the U.S. fails to pursue these energy innovations not only will fuel costs continue to hamper our growth, but other countries like China will pull ahead and that threatens our energy independence and our competitive advantage.
ALPA applauds the work of Senators Udall and Hagan in protecting DOD’s ability to purchase and develop advanced biofuels. ALPA has sent a letter to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees asking them to preserve the biofuels language as they reconcile differences between the House- and Senate- passed legislation. ALPA looks forward to a successful conference and we will continue to lobby our friends on Capitol Hill to ensure the Senate’s biofuel language is maintained and signed into law.