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Senate passes Hagan biofuels amendment

The Senate on Thursday passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that repeals a provision prohibiting Defense Department officials from entering into a contract to plan, design, refurbish or build a biofuels plant or any facility used to refine biofuels unless it is specifically authorized by law.

The amendment was sponsored by Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and the vote was 54-41. The original provision prohibiting the contracts was written by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a critic of ethanol.

Biofuels groups praised the action.
Michael Breen

Michael Breen
“I'm extremely encouraged to see the Senate support the Department of Defense's advanced biofuels programs,” said Mike Breen, executive director of the Truman National Security Project, which promotes clean energy.

“Today’s vote was a victory for our military’s energy security, helping ensure that we develop technology to diversify the fuels that power our military’s vehicles, ships, and aircraft. I’m confident that our elected leaders will continue to support these vital programs when the NDAA reaches conference.”
Tom Buis

Tom Buis
Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis said, “Today’s successful passage of Senator Hagan’s amendment is yet another example of the strong bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate for American made renewable energy.”

Buis noted that this was the second pro-renewable fuels vote on the defense bill in two days. On Wednesday, the Senate voted to allow the military to buy biofuels even if they are more expensive than other fuels.

“The message lawmakers are sending is clear — biofuels play a critical role in developing a diversified energy portfolio to meet our growing energy needs and increase our energy independence,” Buis said.

Adam Monroe

Adam Monroe
“Biofuels have the momentum,” said Adam Monroe, president of Novozymes North America said. “In the last two days the Senate has voted twice to support biofuel development. Congress is moving America forward with public/private partnerships that are putting steel in the ground and creating careers on advanced biofuel projects while providing the stability and security the Department of Defense wants.”

Novozymes converts biomass — corn stalks and leaves, energy crops and household trash — into biofuels

The Obama administration had objected to both the provisions that restricted the military's ability to develop biofuels.