Cantwell, Murray Applaud U.S. Initiative to Spur Biofuel Production

Murray, Cantwell have introduced bill that would extend the length of DOD contracts with biofuel producers, help WA state companies obtain the financing they need to grow their operations

SEATTLE, WA – Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) applauded President Obama’s announcement that the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Energy and Navy will invest up to $510 million during the next three years in partnership with the private sector to spur the production of advanced aviation and marine biofuels.

Washington state is well positioned to seize this great economic opportunity for America, from its fertile farmland for growing feedstocks and world-class agricultural research institutions in the east to its leading advanced biofuel research labs in the central part of the state to aviation and maritime industry leaders in the west driving commercialization and demand.

“Growing and producing our own fuel means real economic opportunity for Washington state and our nation,” Cantwell said. “Washington state is poised to be a national leader in biofuel job growth. Last week I visited a biofuel innovator in Seattle and announced the beginning of our state’s first large-scale camelina growing program, which will mean jobs across Washington state. The advanced biofuel industry holds great promise to foster economic growth, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and cut our dependence on foreign oil.”

“Today’s announcement is a strong step toward reducing our military’s dependence on fossil fuel and investing in biofuels made here in America,” said Senator Patty Murray. “I was proud to introduce legislation in the Senate, cosponsored by Senator Cantwell and introduced in the House by Representative Inslee, to make sure our military can extend the long-term contracts they have with biofuel producers. Military use of biofuels increases the security of our troops who depend on a stable fuel supply, boosts local economies, and creates 21st century jobs in Washington state and across the country.”

Cantwell and Murray are both longtime supporters of the development and commercialization of biofuel to help reduce our nation’s dependence on petroleum-based fuels, better protect the environment, and provide the competition and additional supplies needed to help stabilize and lower jet fuel costs.

Together, they recently introduced legislation following Inslee to extend the length of contracts between the Department of Defense and biofuel producers from the current limit of 5 years to 15 years. Representative Jay Inslee (D-WA-01) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives prior to Murray and Cantwell’s bill introduction in the Senate. Allowing for longer-term contracts with the largest single consumer of energy in the country would help companies in Washington state to obtain the financing they need to grow their operations. In addition, on June 24, 2011, Cantwell reintroduced bipartisan legislation to reform and extend the tax incentive for domestic biodiesel production which includes qualified aviation jet fuel.

Last week, Cantwell toured the cutting-edge laboratories at Targeted Growth in Seattle and announced the launch of Washington state’s first large-scale program for the growth of camelina sativa, a promising non-food feedstock for aviation biofuels. And on July 28, Cantwell, chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation, headed a subcommittee hearing to examine efforts to develop alternative aviation fuels, the impact of fuel prices on the industry, and obstacles that must be overcome to facilitate their commercialization and adoption throughout the industry.