Here’s something I’ll bet you didn’t know: The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is controversial for many reasons, prohibits the military–the nation’s biggest consumer of oil and gasoline–from expanding its use of biofuels. According to a recently published study, if Congress ratifies this legislation it could eliminate approximately $10 billion in economic activity and the creation of more than 14,000 jobs.
Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) recently commissioned a report on the NDAA’s economic impact from High Road Strategies, an industrial, economic and energy consulting firm. Among other things, the study found that between $9.6 billion and $19.8 billion of economic activity, and between 14,000-17,000 new jobs could be created by 2020 if the DoD is allowed to meet its previously announced biofuel goals. Seems like a funny thing to do when both parties are crying out for jobs, doesn’t it?
Ultimately, the report confirmed what many alternative fuel advocates have been saying for months: the military’s use of biofuels will result in widespread positive impacts for the nation, above and beyond DoD savings and increased national security. “Military demand is helping to shape the early market and scale the advanced biofuel industry, which could help the commercial aviation industry and other industries to meet their hopes and plans to expand their use of biofuels,” the report concludes.
“The military often leads major economic transitions in our country – think about aviation, communications or the Internet,” said Nicole Lederer, co-founder of E2. “Yet right now in Washington, some shortsighted lawmakers are poised to block a potentially major transformation of our national energy supply – and also hold back the significant economic growth and job gains that would come with it,” she said.
“The military is the biggest driver of the biofuel industry right now,” agrees Russ Teall, president and founder of biorefinery builder Biodico, which recently signed an agreement to provide advanced biofuels to the U.S. Navy. “If Congress stops the military from doing what the military knows is best, Congress also could threaten the growth of the Made-in-America biofuel industry.”
The full report [PDF] can be accessed here.