Air Force Embraces Coal

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Published: Last Updated on

Student Researcher: Daniel Del Monte

Faculty Evaluator: Heidi Lamoreaux

“Careful deliberation and thoughtful debate have been cast aside as the Air Force has set itself on a fast-track mission to bail out the coal industry,” notes author Peter Montegue. In 2008 the U.S. Air Force began a major effort to define the future of energy supplies for the U.S. and for its military allies. If military brass reach their goal, the transportation fuel of the future will be based on coal. According to Air Force Assistant Secretary William Anderson, the USAF plan is to:

1. Build a “network” of coal-to-liquid-fuels plants to supply the Air Force with 400 million gallons of jet fuel each year by the year 2016 — enough to power half its North American fleet of aircraft. Plans for creating this network are on a “fast track,” according to officials developing coal-to-liquids plants in Montana and Alaska.

2. Engage in “a major international initiative” to persuade the governments of France, England and other nations to adopt coal-based liquid fuels.

3. Prod Wall Street investors — nervous over coal’s role in climate change — to sink money into similar plants nationwide.

According to Assistant Secretary Anderson, with the Air Force paving the way, the private sector will follow — from commercial air fleets to long-haul trucking companies. “Because of our size, we can move the market along”

“The Military-Industrial Complex Embraces Coal-to-Liquids” Peter Montague, Rachel’s Democracy & Health News, August 7, 2008