Report shows now is the time to pass Baucus-Tester Freedom Fuels legislation

Senators Say Montana is ready to Lead Nation in Providing Sustainable Aviation Fuels

(Washington, D.C.) – Montana’s U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester say a new report from Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest (SAFN) reveals an increasing demand for renewable aviation fuels and the need to pass their Freedom Fuels Bill to support long-term contracts for Montana-produced biofuels.

The supply-chain analysis reveals three points key to Montana’s production of homegrown fuels:
1)    Montana’s camelina crop is poised to provide renewable jet fuels for the military and for the private sector.
2)    Research and development programs at Montana State University in Bozeman and Havre are demonstrating through successful projects and partnerships the viability of using agricultural crops for jet fuel.
3)    There is a demand for Baucus’ Freedom Fuels legislation to allow long-term contracting by the military for homegrown biofuels.

“Montana is in the perfect position to provide the homegrown fuels our nation needs to move toward energy security. This report highlights the enormous opportunity to provide new markets for Montana camelina while supporting the innovative research and development efforts already going on at MSU-Northern and MSU-Bozeman,” said Baucus. “Clearly there is a demand from both the military and the private sector to use Montana-made biofuels. I’m going to fight to pass this legislation during this Congress so that we can seize this opportunity to create good-paying jobs for Montana.”

“This bill strengthens our national and economic security through energy independence, and it gives Montana a front row seat that will create jobs and new opportunities for folks in agriculture,” Tester said.  “Montana has the resources and the smart, cutting-edge research needed to lead the world in growing renewable aviation fuel–and the Freedom Fuels Act will help pave the way.”

The SAFN Study also outlines three major factors driving the need for safe affordable and sustainable alternatives to petroleum fuels including:
1)    National Security: The Defense Department has adopted a mission focus on powering its jets with domestically produced alternatives to petroleum fuels.
2)    Climate: Aviation leaders are seeking ways to reduce fuel use and emissions per passenger mile.
3)    Cost: Airlines are particularly vulnerable to wild price swings related to global petroleum markets.
The American Security and Freedom Fuels Act of 2011 addresses national security, climate and cost in the following ways:
•    It grants the Department of Defense the authority to contract for fuel produced in the United States for up to 10 years. Currently, the Defense Department can only contract with energy suppliers only up to five years.
•    The longer-term contracts for American-made fuels are expected to boost demand for alternative fuels derived from home grown crops, such as camelina, and reduce the military's and country's dependence on foreign oil.
•    Industry experts argue that long term contracts could jump-start new investments in new energy projects across the United States, including new clean coal to liquid refineries or bio-fuel plants.

Additional Background:
The Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest (SAFN) initiative was launched in July 2010 by Boeing, Alaska Airlines and the operators of the region’s three largest airports – Port of Seattle, Port of Portland and Spokane International Airport – and Washington State University, a center for advanced biofuels research. Climate Solutions, a Northwest clean-energy nonprofit, was retained to manage a stakeholder process that included more than 40 organizations ranging across aviation, biofuels production, environmental advocacy, agriculture, forestry, federal and state government agencies, academic research and technical consultancies.