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August 25, 2005

Schweitzer Leads on Energy Independence

It's a great Democratic, big new idea, issue.  Jonathan Singer at Basie! picked up a set of talking points via Reuters from Brian Schweitzer, Democratic governor of Montana.  Schweitzer mentioned this at the PLAN meeting I attended last week but I couldn't write fast enough to get the details.  Great way to lead on an issue that's right on it's own and way out ahead of the Republicans.  One of the many reasons Schweitzer is hot in Democratic circles.

Here's the essence of it:

Montana's governor wants to solve America's rising energy costs using a technology discovered in Germany 80 years ago that converts coal into gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel.

The Fischer-Tropsch technology, discovered by German researchers in 1923 and later used by the Nazis to convert coal into wartime fuels, was not economical as long as oil cost less than $30 a barrel.

But with U.S. crude oil now hitting more than double that price, Gov. Brian Schweitzer's plan is getting more attention across the country and some analysts are taking him very seriously.

Montana is "sitting on more energy than they have in the Middle East," Schweitzer told Reuters in an interview this week.

"I am leading this country in this desire and demand to convert coal into gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel. We can do it in Montana for $1 per gallon," he said.

"We can do it cheaper than importing oil from the sheiks, dictators, rats and crooks that we're bringing it from right now."

The governor estimated the cost of producing a barrel of oil through the Fischer-Tropsch method at $32, and said that with its 120 billion tons of coal -- a little less than a third of the U.S total -- Montana could supply the entire United States with its aviation, gas and diesel fuel for 40 years without creating environmental damage.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 25, 2005 at 02:07 PM in Policy | Permalink


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Posted by: Jacob Metcalf | Aug 25, 2005 2:34:06 PM

Since when is strip mining NOT environmentally damaging? I would also look into the process to convert the coal to gas, as it likely has various waste products that are not environmentally friendly.

Perhaps we should look at the ORIGINAL fuels, such as when Rudolf Diesel introduced his engine that ran on PEANUT OIL in 1898 at the World's Fair in Paris. Even current diesel engines can run on waste vegetable oil as long as it has not been used to cook foods with sugar (i.e., not McDonalds). That means we can use existing processes that make vegetable and corn oil to make fuel, or create processes to refine waste vegetable oil.

The bottom line is that the auto makers need to think out of the box, and NOT rely on crude oil. Coal isn't going to be much better. That just sounds like yet another big business industry with ties to Dick Cheney written all over it (isn't he a Montana resident, or is that Texas?)

Posted by: Scott Nieman | Nov 15, 2005 8:53:19 AM

And what does Governor Schweitzer intend to do when his plan is foiled, and we've broken all said ties with the crooks rats that keep this nation afloat! When he's taxed Montana so far that we cannot meet his cost demands and the cost to produce is yet to meet the products intake. Why doesn't he start by clean up the mining projects that have gone sour in the past and help families all over the state who are still feeling the medical downfalls of the past.Can you cure the cancer in Libby and change the spike in death rate that disease has caused? Or will he make Eastern Montana another shocking mortality statistic? All I ask is honesty, why don't you put down the Montana man slogans and outfits and wear a suit wnd tie like your fellow "rats and crooks" in the energy buisness. Don't say you are the face of Montana when all you do is seek to destroy!

Posted by: Miriam | Nov 21, 2006 12:16:56 PM

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