WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today introduced legislation repealing section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) signed into law in December 2007.  Section 526 prohibits federal agencies from contracting for nonconventional, or alternative, fuels that emit higher levels of greenhouse gas emissions than “conventional petroleum sources”.
“I worked to include language in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 recognizing that unconventional fuels such as oil shale and tar sands developed in the U.S. and Canada are strategically important and necessary to develop to reduce the growing dependence of the U.S. on foreign oil imports,” Senator Inhofe said. “Section 526 of the 2007 energy bill, however, prohibits federal agencies from contracting for such fuels.
“This misguided provision was surreptitiously inserted into the 2007 energy bill shortly before final passage.  Despite the potential enormity of the provision’s consequences, no public hearings, discourse, or examination occurred before its inclusion.  The scope of fuels that could be prohibited is left wide-open to interpretation, including fuels such as Canadian oil sands, E85 ethanol, and coal- and natural gas-to-liquids fuel, which has powered B-52H bomber aircraft at Tinker Air Force Base.
“I’m particularly concerned that section 526 could limit the diversity and supply of fuel for our nation’s Air Force and other military branches.  Our military could be forced to obtain a greater percentage of petroleum from unstable regions of the world, endangering our ability to quickly and economically obtain much-needed fuel to conduct operations vital to the defense of our nation.
“The effects of this legislation could increase fuel prices for our military, thus reducing our ability to maintain, reset and modernize our forces.  At a time when our troops are involved in two large-scale foreign conflicts, our military must have the flexibility to secure and develop alternative sources of fuel.”