Gov. Brian Schweitzer told an Air Force official Tuesday that a coal-to-liquids plant at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls is a great fit for the state.
The governor met with William Anderson, the assistant secretary for installations, environment and logistics, who is working on plans to expand the mission at Malmstrom to build a plant.
Schweitzer said it could make use of Montana’s coal while making a fuel that is cleaner burning. He said the carbon dioxide generated by the process could be injected into the ground in eastern Montana oil fields to enhance oil recovery.
They project they could produce up to 25,000 barrels of fuel per day. The Air Force currently uses over half of the fuel consumed by the US government. The goal is for half of USAF fuel to be synthetic by 2016.
Testing synthetic fuels with ground vehicles is also underway.
Of course, the environmentalists are up in arms about this:
At a time when we need to reduce our carbon emissions, liquid coal represents the dirtiest, most expensive and most dangerous energy gamble we could take. For example, driving a hybrid Honda Accord on liquid coal makes it as dirty as driving a Hummer H3…
Rather, let’s put the billions of dollars being proposed for a coal-to-liquid plant at Malmstrom to realize measurable changes and develop renewable energy in ways Montana and the rest of the nation benefit from, as well as their children and grandchildren, for years to come.
As some have noted, environmentalists and the politicians that support them can’t have it both ways.