VIDEO: Cantwell Highlights Historic Biofuel Flights at Senate Hearing

Cantwell: Alaska, United ‘Pushing Forward on Important Area of Aviation’ ***VIDEO AVAILABLE***

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security, congratulated Alaska and United Airlines for making history as the first airlines this week to use biofuel to power commercial passenger flights within the United States.

Cantwell’s comments were made today during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). For more information on today’s hearing, click here.

Click here to watch a video of Senator Cantwell’s remarks. High quality audio and video available upon request.

“But before I turn to that I did want to say congratulations, Mr. Chairman, to United Airlines and to Alaska Airlines,” Cantwell said at today’s hearing. “Because just on Monday, United Airlines became the first U.S.-based air carrier to fly a domestic flight using a mixture of jet fuel and drop-in aviation biofuel. Beginning today, Alaska Airlines will operate 75 flights over the next eleven days with a 20 percent aviation biofuel blend. So, both are pushing forward on this important area of aviation transportation.”

On Monday, Cantwell released a statement applauding Alaska Airlines after the Seattle-based company announced that biofuels would be used to power 75 commercial passenger flights in the United States starting today.

Cantwell has long supported 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. Planes account for 7.5 percent of our nation’s liquid fuel use and are responsible for around five percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.  

On July 28, Cantwell chaired a Senate Aviation 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.

Cantwell, along with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), introduced legislation in May 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 Inslee (D-WA) has introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives. 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.

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.