With the Senate poised to begin debate on the defense policy bill after the Thanksgiving recess, a coalition of senators is gearing up for battle against a pair of controversial amendments targeting the military’s biofuels program.
Opposition to the two amendments — one that would prevent the Defense Department from making operational purchases of alternative fuels that cost more than traditional petroleum and one that would block the Navy’s portion of an interagency plan to invest $510 million in building commercial-scale biofuel refineries — began with Sens. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) this spring. Now, according to a Democratic Senate aide, the core group opposing the amendments has grown to roughly a half a dozen senators.
They are looking to build a bipartisan coalition of opposition. In recent months, the biofuels industry, farm advocates and national security groups have been pitching undecided senators on the benefits of the military’s alternative fuels program.
Supporters of DOD’s alternative fuels program say they hope to handle the issue in a way that prevents it from coming up again.