As Wall Street investment banks collapse, and millions of middle-class citizens walk away from worthless mortgages, the US Air Force is offering "free" development properties to tempt Wall Street bankers to make multi-billion dollar coal-to-liquid plant investments. This: in the face of climate change legislation that will restrict carbon emissions.
Because,,...you know...fuel is expensive. And, no one else suffers from that problem like the Air Force.The Wall Street Journal reminds us that there are currently only two continuously operating CTL plants in the world - both in South Africa. Great role model, that nation, where electricity is in such short supply that major industrial investments are being abandoned and citizens face daily blackouts.
We'd like to see one of those famed South African CTL plants first-hand. Check out the aerial photo. Any sign of secondary containment for storm water runoff from the coal piles?
Who thinks they have strictly enforced discharge permits and top of the line pollution control equipment?
Add pollution controls, including carbon capture and sequestration, in current US dollars, and 5 billion each is only a starting point. Unless, of course being located inside an AF base were used as a reason to bypass the routine permitting requirements.
If security is really that serious an issue, gasoline rationing makes more economic sense. Or else, SUV drivers can take every other day off. Prius drivers once a week. Etc.
The Air Force would not finance, construct or operate the coal plant. Instead, it has offered private developers a 700-acre site on the base and a promise that it would be a ready customer as the government's largest fuel consumer.
Bids on the project are due in May. Construction is expected to take four years once the Air Force selects a developer.
Here's the most amazing money quote we've ever seen:
Only about 15% of the 25,000 barrels of synthetic fuel that would be produced daily at the Malmstrom plant would be suitable for jet fuel. The remainder would be lower-grade diesel for vehicles, trains or trucks and naphtha, a material used in the chemical industry.
Only a small fraction of the proposed multi-billion dollar investment can be written off as security driven - from an Air Force operational standpoint. During a recession.
Who is really piloting this fighter?