House-Passed Defense Bill Prohibits 'Billions' in Green Energy Spending

Pentagon U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant Andy DunawayDOD via Bloomberg News

Defense Department spending on biofuels, electric vehicles, solar panels and other “green energy” programs advocated by the Obama administration would be prohibited under a $570 billion bill funding Pentagon operations for fiscal year 2015 that the House passed June 20.

The prohibition, adopted as an amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R. 4870), restricts the DOD from complying with executive orders and laws that require it to “squander billions” of dollars on clean energy programs, according to its author, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.).

The amendment, which was adopted by voice vote, is an attempt to stop “an ideological crusade imposed on our military that will pointlessly consume billions of defense dollars, mainly to keep money flowing to politically well-connected ‘green energy' companies that can't get anyone else to buy their products,” McClintock said in floor remarks.

The amendment would prohibit Defense Department spending on dozens of requirements, such as an Obama administration executive order that requires federal agencies to use renewable energy, increase fleet vehicle efficiency and procure hybrids, according to a summary of the amendment.

The amendment also would prohibit funding from being used to carry out a law that requires the Defense Department to produce or procure at least 25 percent of the energy it consumes at its facilities from renewable sources by 2025, the summary said.

Other highlights of the amendment include a prohibition of funding for an Obama administration executive order that requires federal agencies to set targets for greenhouse gas reductions and ensures that new federal facilities are “pedestrian friendly” and near public transit, according to the summary.

Would Cut Sustainability Buying Requirements

The amendment also would effectively stop the Defense Department from complying with sustainability procurement requirements and requirements to increase alternative fuel use.

“We're told it is to help protect our armed forces from dependence on potentially hostile foreign sources,” McClintock said, adding later, “We're told the real reason: that this is all a grand strategy to stop climate change, which the Secretary of State has called as big a threat as terrorism.”

The amendment, which a McClintock spokeswoman said would prohibit roughly $7 billion in spending, comes as House Republicans have been increasingly skeptical of efforts to green the military during times of fiscal austerity.

Previous years' versions of Defense Department appropriations bills passed by the House also have included prohibitions on the military's spending on biofuels and other clean energy programs, though the McClintock amendment, is by far the most inclusive.

Senate Hasn't Acted on Issue

The Democrat-controlled Senate has been less willing to enact such restrictions into law, though a House-Senate compromise on the fiscal year 2014 Defense Department authorization bill kept language that barred the department from using funds “for bulk purchases of drop-in fuel for operational purposes during FY 2014, unless the cost of that drop-in fuel is cost competitive with traditional fuel, subject to a national security waiver.”

The Senate has yet to write its version of the fiscal 2015 Department of Defense Appropriations Act.


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