Bipartisan bill introduced to repeal onerous fuel restrictions
A bipartisan coalition of members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by U.S. Representative Mike Conaway (R-Texas), have introduced legislation to permanently repeal Section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
Section 526 prohibits the federal government from purchasing any fuel “unless the contract specifies that the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production and combustion … [are] less than or equal to such emissions from the equivalent conventional fuel produced from conventional petroleum sources.” It prevents the government from buying fuel produced from domestic shale oil, coal-to-liquids technology and other synthetic sources, as these fuel sources have more energy-intensive extraction processes than conventional petroleum.
This provision makes our nation less energy secure and more dependent on sources of oil from unfriendly nations, while jeopardizing thousands of jobs that depend on the continued flow of oil sands derived from crude oil.
The Section 526 Repeal Act, H.R. 2478, is cosponsored by Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Bill Flores (R-Texas), Gene Green (D-Texas), Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Jim Matheson (D-Utah) and Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.).
“The Department of Defense’s singular obligation is to protect this nation, and DoD leaders have made it clear that foreign sources of oil and price volatility present obstacles to fulfilling that obligation. Lifting the restrictions contained in Section 526 will free the military to use any technology it believes can help to confront that danger. The choice is clear: Either the military can meet its strategic fuel supply concerns or operational planning can take a back seat to environmental posturing,” Rep. Conaway said.
“Section 526 restricts fuel choices for the federal government based on unsound energy policies. H.R. 2478 ensures that our military and federal agencies have access to all sources of fuel, including from renewable sources and from non-conventional sources. Repealing Section 526 will put an end to this ill-conceived law and will reduce our dependence on unstable Middle East oil. It will also help us promote American energy security, improve the American economy and create American jobs. For the past few years, Congressman Conaway and I have successfully added amendments to House appropriations bills to stop the effects of Section 526; however, H.R. 2478 will permanently stop the damaging impact of this unsound policy,” Rep. Flores said.
“This bill is critical to job creation and national security. This is a commonsense provision to lessen our reliance on unstable and unfriendly regimes while putting Americans back to work. It’s time to put an end to partisan games that hinder American energy independence and delay true ‘shovel-ready’ projects,” Rep. Gingrey said.
“While I support the Department of Defense’s efforts to transition to alternative sources of energy, I do want to ensure that it is done in a practical manner and does not leave DoD even more vulnerable to supply issues. Section 526 does not recognize that fuels derived from oil sands are identical to those produced from all other crude oils, whether imported or domestically produced. In fact, DoD has testified in the House Energy and Commerce Committee that it is impossible to track finished products, leaving Section 526 difficult to enforce and comply with,” Rep. Green said.
“Section 526 needlessly restricts the ability of the federal government to procure a stable supply of energy from reliable allies, like Canada, and stymies the development of alternative fuel sources, like coal-to-liquids. I first introduced this legislation in 2008 because I believe that Section 526 will leave our nation less secure and more dependent on energy from volatile sources like the Middle East and Venezuela,” Rep. Hensarling said.
“The military has no time to cater to unreasonable requests of environmental groups when our national security is on the line. It should be common sense that the military’s fuel needs should be met, preferably with abundant all-American energy products. I’m glad to see members on both sides of the aisle can agree on that,” Rep. Lummis said.
“Our nation should invest in new energy research and technologies aimed at taking full advantage of our domestic energy resources, especially our abundant coal supplies. Repealing Section 526 and allowing our nation’s armed forces to procure synthetic fuels like coal-to-liquids would not only reduce our military’s dangerous dependence on foreign oil, but it also would jump start a domestic coal-to-liquids industry, creating well-paying American jobs here at home,” Rep. Rahall said.