WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate overwhelmingly backed a $633 billion defense bill for next year that would tighten penalties on Iran to thwart its nuclear ambitions and bulk up security at diplomatic missions worldwide after the deadly Sept. 11 raid in Libya.
The Senate on Thursday removed the second of two bans on Defense Department biofuels spending that had been included in the $631 billion 2013 defense programs authorization bill. The White House had objected to both provisions.
On a 54-41 vote, four Republicans joined Democrats to pass an amendment by Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., that removed language stopping the Navy from spending $170 million on new domestic biofuels refineries. The action followed a 62-37 vote on Wednesday, backed by 11 Republicans, to strike a prohibition in the bill against Pentagon purchases of biofuels that cost more than conventional fuels.
The Navy's Great Green Fleet program, which uses a blend of biofuels and traditional fuel to power its ships, has drawn fierce criticism in recent months, but is just one part of a much larger debate on federal development of new energy technologies, The New York Times reports.
On July 19, 2012, a sunny blue day in the middle of the Pacific, I had the honor of being a guest of the U.S. Navy to witness the use of advanced biofuels for the first time in a full blown military exercise. The event was the RIM Pac drill with 22 participating countries joining the U.S. Navy to run a coordinated set of defense operations.
What made this exercise historic was the Navy's use of 900,000 gallons of a 50/50 blend of advanced biofuels.
From the use of larger sails in 1812 which produced quicker ships, shifting from coal to oil and more recently the deployment of a nuclear navy, the Navy has been a consistent leader on energy innovation.
ABOARD THE USS NIMITZ (AP) — Some 100 nautical miles northeast of Oahu in the Pacific Ocean, a fleet of U.S. Navy fighter jets slings from the deck of the U.S.S. Nimitz aircraft carrier, leaving thin trails of smoke on the tight runway.
The operation, part of maneuvers involving several thousand sailors as part of the world's largest naval exercises in waters off Hawaii, was at the center of a growing controversy involving defense spending and foreign oil.
As the Navy's biofuel-powered Great Green Fleet prepares for its first operational test on Thursday, a bipartisan group of senators are bracing to oppose House legislation that would defund the costly program, Reuters reports.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., pledged to push a vote to complete the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste facility in Nevada if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., moves to limit filibusters, Roll Call reports.