U.S. needs cleaner fuels than tar sands oil

WASHINGTON – Anything that allows America to continue its dependence on carbon fossil fuels – whether the sprawling tar sands of Canada or the petroleum pools under Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – completely misses the point about shifting to alternative energy sources.

Alternative sources should be real energy alternatives like wind, solar and geothermal power rather than alternative fossil fuel sources that often give off more greenhouse gases than conventional crude oil. Without making that crucial distinction we will continue to stoke the boilers of global warming that are destroying our planet’s all-too fragile environment at an ever-increasing rate.

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North Fork has plenty of oil, gas leases in U.S.

The North Fork of the Flathead is blanketed by oil and gas leases and they’re not in Canada — they’re right here in Montana, just north of Columbia Falls on Flathead National Forest lands.

The leases date back to the 1970s and have been held in what amounts to legal limbo since 1985, when James R. Conner of Kalispell, members of the Montana Wildlife Federation and the Madison-Gallatin Alliance sued Robert Burford, director of the Bureau of Land Management.

In early 1981, the Forest Service issued environmental assessments recommending that 1.3 million acres of land in the Flathead and Gallatin National Forests be leased for oil and gas development.

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Looking for oil alternatives

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. — On a wind-swept air base near the Missouri River, the Air Force has launched an ambitious plan to wean itself from foreign oil by turning to a new and unlikely source: coal.

The Air Force wants to build at its Malmstrom base in central Montana the first piece of what it hopes will be a nationwide network of facilities that would convert domestic coal into cleaner-burning synthetic fuel.

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