Malmstrom Air Force Base Coal-to-Liquids

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{{#Badges:CoalSwarm}} In September 2007, the U.S. Air Force announced that it was considering building a large coal-to-liquids plant at Malmstrom Air Force Base. Gov. Schweitzer publicly announced his support for the project.[1] The plant would consume an estimated 20,000 tons of coal and 10 million gallons of water each day, and would produce 20,000-30,000 barrels of fuel each day, 50-100 megawatts of electricity for sale, and 15,000 tons of carbon dioxide to be stored at an undetermined location.[2]

Project proponents conducted a public information session on Oct. 3, 2007; on Oct. 2, environmental groups were “uninvited” from the session.[3]

The Pentagon has also contacted Southern Montana Electric – the builders of the Highwood Generating Station – and suggested the possibility of the Malmstrom plant buying power from Highland, rather than producing its own.[3].

According to the Sierra Club's August 2008 update, the Malmstrom coal plant is on hold due to the new Federal Energy Bill provision barring the government from buying nontraditional petroleum fuels that emit more global warming pollution than conventional oil-based products.[4]

On January 20, 2009, the Air Force Times reported that the Air Force reached a decision whether to go ahead with the Malstrom plant on January 16. Announcement of the decision has been delayed, but is expected soon.[5]

On January 29, 2009, Air Force officials announced that they had rejected construction proposals and would no longer be pursuing development of the large synthetic fuel plant.[6]

Project Details

Sponsor: US Air Force
Location: Great Falls, MT
Capacity: 300 MW
Status: Cancelled


Citizen Groups



  1. “Governor, Air Force Talk About Fuel Plant", Billings Gazette, October 3, 2007.
  2. "Malstrom CTL Proposal" Montana Environmental Information Center, February 2008.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Malmstrom C2L Proposal: Coal-to-Liquids Plant Proposed for Great Falls’ Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montanta Environmental Information Center, November 2007.
  4. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed November 2008.
  5. "Decision due on Mont. synthetic fuel plant", Air Force Times, January 20, 2009.
  6. Peter Johnson, "Officials scrap plans for plant at Malmstrom," Great Falls Tribune, January 30, 2009.

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