On Sunday, Ranking member of the Armed Services Committee Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) blasted the Defense Department’s plan to “contribute $170 million to a massive federal giveaway to private biofuels companies.” He said the plan is further evidence of the Obama Administration’s “use of taxpayer dollars to fund the president’s hobby as a venture capitalist.”
In an op-ed published in Politico, Inhofe suggested the Obama Administration’s plan to support the construction of commercial biofuel refineries was not only another instance of crony capitalism, it was misguided on the plan’s merits as well.
“At a time when our military is tasked with defending us from a growing array of threats while enduring the biggest cuts of any federal agency under sequestration, now is not the time for speculative adventurism with precious declining defense dollars,” wrote Inhofe.
Inhofe also cited recent news that U.S. oil production recently hit an all-time high, thus providing the U.S. economy with a small patch of opportunity.
“If we are seriously interested in ensuring energy security over the next 50 years, why would we invest diminishing defense resources today to try to establish a competing interest to the fastest-growing sector of our economy?” asked Inhofe.
Inhofe added: “Rather than use our military as a piggy bank to fund the president’s domestic energy agenda, we should be ensuring that every scarce defense dollar is going toward maintaining our military as the best-trained and best-equipped fighting force in the world.”
This is not the first time Obama’s military biofuels agenda has come under fire. Last year, as part of Obama’s commitment to “green” the U.S. military, the United States Air Force spent $639,000 on 11,000 gallons of alcohol-to-jet fuel from Gevo Inc., a Colorado biofuels company, at $59 a gallon. One of Gevo’s venture capital funders is Vinod Khosla, a top Democratic fundraiser. Since 1996, Khosla has donated $474,534 — 86% of which went to Democrats.