It appears there’s more wrangling going on in regards to the Air Force’s idea to have private companies build Coal to Liquid (CTL) plants on Air Force bases. A friend sent me this link from Politico.
Malmstrom AFB is being looked at for a CTL plant, but as I see it the project faces at least two major hurdles:
First, base supporters don’t want the plant to hamper any type of future air operations the base may obtain. I agree with this. The last planes left Malmstrom around 1995. Despite what many in the Air Force say, the runway could be up and running for a few dollars (these are few Federal Government dollars, which means a few million in my terms). The runway is in decent shape and could be reopened by the military. Or, the runway could be used by a private defense or other civilian company if/when the base closes or maybe while the base is open.
Second, another hill to climb according to the Politico article is:
“The Montana Environmental Information Center, based in downtown Helena, is still aiming to derail the project, if it survives in Congress, because of concerns about coal’s notoriously dirty footprint.
“I don’t care who is making the proposal,” said Anne Hedges, the center’s top lobbyist and program director. “The Air Force is not above the law, and there’s no exemption for the Air Force in the Clean Air Act.”
Hedges isn’t making an empty threat. In the past several years, her group has stopped at least four coal plants. Most recently, it blocked the Roundup Power Project, a $910 million, coal-fired power plant proposed by the New York-based Bull Mountain Development Co. by lobbying the state government to revoke the company’s air pollution permit.“
I believe time is quickly running out for Malmstrom AFB. With the new Democratic majority in Congress, Malmstrom recently lost one-quarter of their missile mission which means hundreds of base personnel and their families were reassigned. Then on the same slippery slope, 100 new houses that were going to be built were cancelled. These actions must bring a big smile to the anti-military folks around the area. If another BRAC round happens in the near future, I would be very skeptical that Malmstrom could survive.
It does not appear the future for the base is in a Coal to Liquid plant, but only time (and maybe a few lawsuits) will tell.