A plan to build a “clean coal” plant in Washington state is officially dead:

Energy Northwest officials said they could not produce a required plan for capturing carbon emissions from the proposed plant in the foreseeable future. A 2007 Washington law sets strict limits on carbon emissions from coal plants and requires that utilities show how any future coal plant would capture or “sequester” carbon emissions by permanently injecting them deep underground, thus preventing them from entering the atmosphere.

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Energy Northwest’s decision to withdraw its application “was simply a reflection of the fact that the law passed by the state Legislature made it financially and probably legally impossible for us to move forward with the gasification plant,” said Energy Northwest spokeswoman Rochelle Olson. “Carbon sequestration is really still in the research and development stages, and as a public agency we are prohibited from accepting open-ended risk.

Once companies have to start building “clean coal” plants instead of just using them as a rhetorical device to slow down climate legislation, it’s quickly going to become apparent that, well, there is no such thing.

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