Monday, November 21, 2005

Montana's Miracle Cure for Expensive Gasoline

The Fischer-Tropsch process for turning coal into usable fuel has been around for about 80 years, but new developments may make it a lot cleaner to use than previous versions. Environmentalists are warily on board with Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer's plan to wean America off foreign oil by turning his state into a coal miner's wet dream: Fischer-Tropsch central. An unintentionally scary paragraph reminds us who used Fischer-Tropsch in the past: rogue states like Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa, who couldn't get anyone to trade with them.

Background on Schweitzer: he ran for Senate against Conrad Burns a few years ago, campaigning mostly on a promise to bring affordable health care to seniors who drive to Canada to get their meds. (This is now illegal, by the way. During the campaign he made a very public bus trip with a group of Medicaid recipients that would today land him in jail.) He lost, but used his name recognition to take the governor's house last year. So far his approval ratings have hovered in the seventies and he's a sleeper for re-election.


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