Montana's U.S. Senators hope to boost jobs and reduce use of foreign fuels


BILLINGS – Montana's U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester reintroduced legislation last week aimed at boosting Montana jobs and reducing dependence on foreign fuels.

The American Security and Freedom Fuels Act of 2011 would grant the Department of Defense the authority to contract for fuel produced in the U.S. from five years to up to 10 years.

That could boost demand for alternative fuels. It could also jump-start new investments in new energy projects.

Camelina is being grown in Montana and the Crow Tribe in southeastern Montana is working on a coal-to liquids project called the Many Stars project.

"We're working hard to come up with fresh ideas to create new job opportunities in Montana while doing the right thing when it comes to energy independence," Baucus explained. "This legislation helps secure a stable demand for Montana-made camelina and coal to liquids fuels that will secure good-paying jobs."

"The Freedom Fuels Act will open a lot of doors for us and for our kids and grandkids through smart energy development, and it will help Montana agriculture take off," Tester commented.

"I am greatly encouraged by the possibility of long-term contracts for synfuels and biofuels, both of which are significant components of the Many Stars Project," Crow Tribal Chairman Cedric Black Eagle said. "I can't overstate the benefit that the Freedom Fuels Act would provide to our project, to the Crow Tribe, and to all Montanans."