In the News

Raju Chebium - Sen. Mark Udall introduced legislation Wednesday aimed at making the military more energy efficient and saving taxpayers billions of dollars.

The Colorado Democrat’s bill would allow the military to use private money to increase the fuel efficiency of vehicles, use the savings to finance new energy-reduction programs, encourage the Pentagon to develop light, portable and clean-energy power systems for troops to take on missions, and help military installations function during blackouts or if the energy grid is attacked.

The Pentagon’s fuel bill alone is $15 billion a year, Udall said, adding that the military seeks congressional help to cut energy costs.

The services can take some steps on their own but “there are other areas in which we have to give the direction because, after all, that’s the Congress’ role,” Udall told a Capitol Hill news conference.

“We also have the power of the purse and we can redirect resources and redefine how those resources are used,” Udall said. “This is certainly a partnership with the Department of Defense.”

The House version of the bill is sponsored by Rep. Scott Peters, a California Democrat who represents the San Diego area.

Four years ago, Udall teamed up with then-Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., to offer a previous version of the bill. On Wednesday, Giffords attended the news conference but didn’t speak.

She stepped down in 2012, one year after being shot by a constituent.