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Johnson amendment removes biofuels obstacle for military

Tim Johnson

The U.S. Senate recently passed an amendment backed by Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., to preserve efforts by the Department of Defense to expand its use of biofuels.

The Johnson-supported amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which was also supported by the DOD, removed a provision that would have made it more difficult for the DOD to develop biofuels.

The DOD consumed more than 355,000 barrels of oil per day in fiscal year 2011, which makes it the largest oil consumer in the world.

A news release from Johnson said a section of the National Defense Authorization Act would have prohibited the DOD from entering into a contract to plan, design, refurbish or construct a biofuels refinery or any other facility or infrastructure used to refine biofuels unless such planning, design, refurbishment, or construction is specifically authorized by law.

The Johnson-supported amendment removed that prohibition, according to the news release.

In August, the Department of the Navy, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Energy signed a memorandum of understanding to invest $510 million, equally shared among them, for investments in the joint construction or retrofitting of plants and refineries to produce advanced biofuels.

"Now is not the time to prevent this important program from continuing," Johnson said.