Industry asks Armed Services Committees to support advanced aviation biofuels

WASHINGTON, 21 May 2012. The Advanced Biofuels Association, the Algal Biomass Organization, Airlines for America, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and the National Farm Bureau Federation are asking the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to support the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) commitment to accelerate production of American-made, advanced, “drop-in” biofuels for use in military jets, ships, and vehicles.


The first letter follows:

Dear Chairmen Levin and McKeon and Ranking Members McCain and Smith:

As representatives of the farmers who grow energy crops, the advanced biofuels industry that uses plant material and technologies to produce fuel, and the customers who purchase advanced biofuels, we support government policies that improve national security, reduce military operational cost overruns, and diversify military fuel supplies. Accordingly, we are writing to request that you support the Department of Defense’s (DoD) commitment to accelerate production of American-made, advanced, “drop-in” biofuels for use in military jets, ships, and vehicles.

Last year, DoD entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy pledging a federal investment of $510 million, in partnership with the private sector, to advance the commercialization of U.S. advanced drop-in aviation and marine biofuels to help power military and commercial transportation. Under the terms of the MOU, $170 million would be provided by each participating federal agency. This initiative would bring to market demonstrated alternative fuels and feedstocks technologies for the benefit of American national and energy security.

Adopting advanced, “drop-in” biofuels will help the DoD and the nation achieve broader national security objectives. U.S. access to the world’s oil supplies is not guaranteed. Continued reliance on foreign oil puts U.S. troops at risk of supply disruptions during military or humanitarian missions. Moreover, the oil market is unpredictable and the price per barrel of oil often has dramatic fluctuations, which wreaks havoc on military budgets. In fiscal years 2011 and 2012, for instance, DoD came up $5.6 billion short in its budget for military operations and maintenance because it spent more on fuel than anticipated. It has been noted that the DoD incurs $130 million in additional costs for every one dollar increase in the price per barrel of oil.

Budget shortfalls associated with fuel price spikes force military leaders to make tough decisions, such as asking Congress for supplemental resources that are difficult to secure in tough budget times or cutting back on steaming hours and flight training. Meanwhile, U.S. advanced biofuel producers have made rapid progress toward cost-competitiveness. Per gallon cost of test quantities of advanced biofuels under Navy contracts has declined more than 90 percent over the past two years and will continue to decline as these technologies scale to commercial production. DoD’s efforts to reduce use of foreign oil and increase use of American biofuels can provide more certainty for military fuel purchasers and therefore reduce the Department’s massive operational cost overruns.

Several DoD reports highlight the national security imperative of embracing policies that reduce the military’s overreliance on foreign oil. The 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review notes that the U.S. Navy, other branches of the military, and the nation as a whole face a significant national security threat from our nation’s reliance on foreign sources of energy. And, a July 2011 report titled “Opportunities for DoD Use of Alternative and Renewable Fuels” concludes that increasing the military’s use of renewable fuel helps advance U.S. strategic energy security interests.

The purpose of the MOU is consistent with history. The U.S. military has worked with Congress to develop and deploy innovative technologies that have improved national security and strengthened American military superiority at sea, in the skies and on the battlefield. Some examples of past security- driven, government-industry collaboration include domestic production of silicon carbide ceramics (used in nuclear reactors), indium phosphide and gallium arsenide (used in lasers and semiconductors), and aluminum and titanium, which are ubiquitous in nearly all major weapons systems.

DoD and Congress are poised yet again to strengthen security by working with American farmers and industry to tackle production and cost barriers that will help diversify the military and national fuel supply. We look forward to working with Congress on these and other DoD energy policy priorities, and ask you to support the MOU.

Sincerely,
Michael J. McAdams
President
Advanced Biofuels Association

 
Sharon L. Pinkerton
Senior Vice President
Legislative and Regulatory Policy
Airlines for America

Mary Rosenthal
Executive Director
Algal Biomass Organization

James C. Greenwood
President and CEO
Biotechnology Industry Organization

Bob Stallman
President
American Farm Bureau Federation

The second letter follows:
Dear Chairmen Inouye and Young and Ranking Members Cochran and Dicks:

As representatives of the farmers who grow energy crops, the advanced biofuels industry that uses plant material and technologies to produce fuel, and the customers who purchase advanced biofuels, we support government policies that improve national security, reduce military operational cost overruns, and diversify military fuel supplies. Accordingly, we are writing to request that you support the funding necessary to carry out the Department of Defense’s (DoD) commitment to accelerate production of American-made, advanced, “drop-in” biofuels for use in military jets, ships, and vehicles.

Last year, DoD entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy pledging a federal investment of $510 million, in partnership with the private sector, to advance the commercialization of U.S. advanced drop-in aviation and marine biofuels to help power military and commercial transportation. Under the terms of the MOU, $170 million would be provided by each participating federal agency. This initiative would bring to market demonstrated alternative fuels and feedstocks technologies for the benefit of American national and energy security.

Adopting advanced, “drop-in” biofuels will help the DoD and the nation achieve broader national security objectives. U.S. access to the world’s oil supplies is not guaranteed. Continued reliance on foreign oil puts U.S. troops at risk of supply disruptions during military or humanitarian missions. Moreover, the oil market is unpredictable and the price per barrel of oil often has dramatic fluctuations, which wreaks havoc on military budgets. In fiscal years 2011 and 2012, for instance, DoD came up $5.6 billion short in its budget for military operations and maintenance because it spent more on fuel than anticipated. It has been noted that the DoD incurs $130 million in additional costs for every one dollar increase in the price per barrel of oil.

Budget shortfalls associated with fuel price spikes force military leaders to make tough decisions, such as asking Congress for supplemental resources that are difficult to secure in tough budget times or cutting back on steaming hours and flight training. Meanwhile, U.S. advanced biofuel producers have made rapid progress toward cost-competitiveness. Per gallon cost of test quantities of advanced biofuels under Navy contracts has declined more than 90 percent over the past two years and will continue to decline as these technologies scale to commercial production. DoD’s efforts to reduce use of foreign oil and increase use of American biofuels can provide more certainty for military fuel purchasers and therefore reduce the Department’s massive operational cost overruns.

Several DoD reports highlight the national security imperative of embracing policies that reduce the military’s overreliance on foreign oil. The 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review notes that the U.S. Navy, other branches of the military, and the nation as a whole face a significant national security threat from our nation’s reliance on foreign sources of energy. And, a July 2011 report titled “Opportunities for DoD Use of Alternative and Renewable Fuels” concludes that increasing the military’s use of renewable fuel helps advance U.S. strategic energy security interests.

The purpose of the MOU is consistent with history. The U.S. military has worked with Congress to develop and deploy innovative technologies that have improved national security and strengthened American military superiority at sea, in the skies and on the battlefield. Some examples of past security- driven, government-industry collaboration include domestic production of silicon carbide ceramics (used in nuclear reactors), indium phosphide and gallium arsenide (used in lasers and semiconductors), and aluminum and titanium, which are ubiquitous in nearly all major weapons systems.

DoD and Congress are poised yet again to strengthen security by working with American farmers and industry to tackle production and cost barriers that will help diversify the military and national fuel supply. We look forward to working with Congress on these and other DoD energy policy priorities, and ask you to support funding pursuant to the MOU. In particular, we ask that you provide the full amount of $89 million requested in the Fiscal Year 2013 DoD budget to carry out Defense Production Act (50 U.S.C. App. 2061, et seq.) activities.

Sincerely,
Michael J. McAdams
President
Advanced Biofuels Association
 
Sharon L. Pinkerton
Senior Vice President
Legislative and Regulatory Policy
Airlines for America

Mary Rosenthal
Executive Director
Algal Biomass Organization

James C. Greenwood
President and CEO
Biotechnology Industry Organization
 
Bob Stallman
President
American Farm Bureau Federation
 
As a leading voice for America’s domestic biofuels industry, the Advanced Biofuels Association, ABFA, represents companies deploying advanced and renewable technologies that are helping drive America’s new economy by creating jobs, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels while fueling a sustainable future for the world. A national organization based in Washington, D.C., the ABFA supports federal investment while encouraging public policies that are consistent, technology neutral, utilize sustainable feedstocks and offer subsidy parity. For more information http://www.advancedbiofuelsassociation.com/

The Algal Biomass Organization (ABO) is a 501 c(6) non-profit whose mission is to promote the development of viable commercial markets for renewable and sustainable commodities derived from algae. Its membership is comprised of people, companies and organizations across the value chain. More information about ABO, including its leadership, membership, costs, benefits and members and their affiliations, is available at the website: www.algalbiomass.org.

Annually, commercial aviation helps drive more than $1 trillion in U.S. economic activity and nearly 10 million U.S. jobs. A4A airline members and their affiliates transport more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic. For more information about the airline industry, visit www.airlines.organd follow us on Twitter @airlinesdotorg.

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIO produces BIOtech NOW, an online portal and monthly newsletter chronicling “innovations transforming our world.” Subscribe to BIOtech NOW.

American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is the unified national voice of agriculture, working through our grassroots organizations to enhance and strengthen the lives of rural Americans and to build strong, prosperous agricultural communities.


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