April 21, 2015

Manchin, Bipartisan Group of Senators Reintroduce Alternative Fuels Bill

Bill would allow the U.S. military and federal agencies to purchase transportation fuel produced from coal, oil shale and oil sands

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), John Barrasso (R-WY), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and others reintroduced the bipartisan North American Alternative Fuels Act. The bill would repeal section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 which prohibits the federal government, including the U.S. military, from purchasing fuel produced from coal, oil shale and oil sands. 

“Achieving domestic energy independence and reducing our vulnerability to foreign oil imports is vital to our national security and our economic stability,” Senator Manchin said. “This bill takes a large step in the right direction by allowing the federal government—including our military – to use alternative and synthetic fuels like coal-to-liquid. Relying on our nation’s coal supply, coal-to-liquid fuel can be delivered through existing pipelines and is readily useable today in existing markets, including in the military. It is just common sense to establish all-of-the-above energy strategies that include fuels created from our abundant American energy resources.”

“Our nation’s military should have access to any and all fuel sources it needs to achieve its mission,” said Senator Barrasso. “Instead of giving preference to oil imported from overseas, Washington should look to North American coal, oil shale and oil sands, all of which provide an affordable, abundant and alternative source of fuel. In addition to increasing cost effectiveness options for the government, it will also increase America’s energy security.”

“There is no reason why America should have an energy policy that explicitly discriminates against its own abundant natural resources while also restricting our military from using all available energy options,” said Senator Heitkamp. “Instead, we need policies that support American coal and shale oil, instead of foreign oil, so that we can reach our long term goal of North American energy security and independence. This bipartisan bill will help establish confidence in America’s energy sector by overturning policies prohibiting sound investments in alternative fuels like coal-to-liquids, and instead bring us closer to an all-of-the-above energy strategy that will make us stronger, safer, and more independent for generations to come.”

In addition to Senators Manchin, Barrasso and Heitkamp, the North American Alternative Fuels Act is co-sponsored by Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and John Hoeven (R-ND).


The North American Alternative Fuels Act would repeal section 526 of EISA. Section 526 prohibits federal agencies from contracting for alternative transportation fuels unless the contract specifies that the alternative fuel emits an amount of greenhouse gas that is less than or equal to greenhouse gas emitted from fuel produced from conventional petroleum sources. By its terms, section 526 prohibits the federal government, including the U.S. military, from purchasing transportation fuel produced from coal, oil shale, and oil sands.