Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, the program’s biggest public booster, calls it vital for the military’s energy security.
But to President Barack Obama’s critics, it is an opportunity to accuse the U.S. leader of pushing green energy policies even if they don’t make economic sense. The bankruptcy of government-funded solar panel maker Solyndra last year was a previous example of that, they say.
The U.S. Defense, Energy and Agriculture departments are jointly sponsoring a half-a-billion-dollar initiative to foster a competitive biofuels industry. Mabus and his counterparts at the departments of Energy and Agriculture are due to announce new investments in biofuels industry on Monday.
Senator John McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, expressed outrage over the costs of the fuel at a hearing earlier this year.
“I don’t believe it’s the job of the Navy to be involved in building … new technologies,” he said. “I don’t believe we can afford it.”