Tester, Senate panel approve military biofuels provision

Senator backs measure to reduce dependence on foreign oil, boost demand for Montana-made fuels

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today announced that the Senate Appropriations Committee approved funding for the U.S. Defense Department’s biofuels initiative.

Tester, a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that wrote the legislation, said the measure allows the Defense Department to continue working with the Department of Energy to purchase American-made alternative fuels, like those made from Montana camelina.

“Smart investments in home-grown energy sources grow our economy and increase our energy independence,” Tester said. “Our military’s leadership in alternative energy will strengthen our national security and create jobs here at home, and I’m glad the Senate is taking notice.”

Camelina production already creates jobs in Montana. In 2010, the U.S. Navy test flew an F/A 18 Super Hornet fueled by Montana-grown camelina biofuel. Bozeman-based Sustainable Oils worked with the Navy to produce 40,000 gallons of camelina biofuel for the test. Additionally, MSU-Northern in Havre is a leading researcher of new uses for the biofuel.

Tester and fellow Montana Senator Max Baucus have a long track-record of standing up for biofuels like camelina. In November, they 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 also teamed up in February to introduce their Freedom Fuels bill. The measure will boost demand for Montana camelina by further increasing the military’s authority to purchase American-made alternative fuels.