Tester, Baucus secure victory for Montana camelina jobs

Senators reintroduce Freedom Fuels bill after strengthening market for biofuel for Montana-grown crop

(Washington, DC) – Montana’s U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus reintroduced their Freedom Fuels bill today after securing a victory that will boost demand for Montana-grown camelina.

· At Tester and Baucus’s urging, camelina will now count towards the nation’s Renewable Fuel Standard, which ensures a stable market for the Montana-grown oilseed, which can be converted into biofuel.

· Tester and Baucus’s Freedom Fuels Bill will boost demand for Montana camelina even further and reduce dependence on foreign oil by giving the military greater authority to purchase American-made alternative fuels, like those made from Montana camelina.

“Adding camelina to the Renewable Fuel Standard will increase our energy security and allow a marketplace for this Montana biofuel to develop,” Tester said. “We need to keep encouraging home-grown energy sources, and our Freedom Fuels bill will help our military and the country take the next step toward energy independence.”

“When it comes to energy, Montana has it all, and we need to give all Montana energy producers every opportunity to grow and support Montana jobs. Securing a stable market for Montana camelina is good for Montana jobs and good for American energy security,” Baucus said. “The next step is to give our commanders greater flexibility to use home-grown energy, because powering our military with American-made energy, like Montana biofuel, makes our country safer and our economy stronger.”

The Renewable Fuel Standard requires a percentage of fuels produced in the United States to come from renewable sources. Camelina, which is best grown in a dry climate, is well suited for Montana.

“The approval of camelina as an advanced biofuel feedstock allows companies like Sustainable Oils to fully develop the crop as a competitive alternative to other feedstocks. I know that this action will provide the opportunity to offer Montana farmers production contracts on many more acres than we have been able to offer in the past,” said Scott Johnson, President of Sustainable Oils, which has a research facility in Bozeman where is has developed elite camelina varieties adapted for Montana.

Sustainable oils has previously contracted with both the Navy and the Air Force for more than 140,000 gallons of biofuel to help power American military aircraft.

Tester and Baucus’s Freedom Fuel’s bill will allow the military to enter into contracts like these for up to 10 years as opposed the current limit of 5 years. Allowing longer-term contracts will boost demand for Montana camelina in the short-term, and provide Montana camelina famers with a sustainable long-term demand for their crop.

The Defense Department requested the contract authority granted under the Tester-Baucus bill and has suggested the authority will save money over the long-term by allowing the Department to negotiate cheaper contracts. The Air Transport Association has also expressed support for this policy in a letter to the Armed Services Committee in 2011.

In November of 2012, Tester and Baucus successfully removed a provision in the Defense Authorization bill that would have limited the military’s ability to purchase biofuel made from Montana camelina.

Tester and Baucus first introduced the Freedom Fuels bill in 2010.