The Air Force announced that it is abandoning plans for a controversial coal-to-liquid plant in Montana. The move comes despite previous indications during the Bush administration that the Air Force would be coal-powered by 2011.
Coal-to-liquids isn't exactly the cleanest fuel. In fact, a 50-50 blend of CTL and conventional fuel emits twice the greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels. President Obama has recently said that he would not support a CTL plant unless its life-cycle GHG emissions are 20% lower than conventional fuels.
Andy Stevenson of NRDC Switchboard writes:
"The high GHG emissions of (this) straight coal to liquids fuel would be in direct violation of the Section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 which prohibits federal agencies from procuring a fuel unless its life-cycle GHG emissions are equal to or less than those for conventional petroleum sources (the "petroleum baseline").
So, the lesson here is that both 50/50 and straight CTL fuel is incredibly dirty and should be avoided at all costs - even they help us reach the elusive goal of 'energy independence.' Independence only means something if we haven't burned up in the process of getting there.
Image: CC licensed by flickr user jamesdale10