The Air Force plan to run much of its aircraft fleet on domestically produced synthetic fuel by 2016 has two potentially serious drawbacks—no plants and environmental concerns, reports Associated Press reporter James McPherson (article via Bismarck (N.D.) Tribune). Despite significant interest by the military, particularly the Air Force with its huge aviation fuel bills, Congress has shown little support for coal-based fuel. USAF hopes to generate more interest; it has gained support in some states. Critics of the Air Force plan also say that the process to produce coal-based synfuel emits more harmful by-products than traditional refineries. Yet, USAF says tests by its labs and the Energy Department show that there is a method to make emissions lower than those from oil refineries.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.