Congress seeks tax money to make defunct “clean coal” plant dirty again

For aficionados of government pork, the energy bill that recently passed the House is the gift that keeps on giving. The latest gem uncovered is a provision that would offer $125 million in loan guarantees to a “clean coal” power plant in Alaska. Now, this pork isn’t going to build the plant — that $117 million ship sailed years ago. No, this new pork is going to convert the “clean coal” plant back into an old-fashioned “dirty coal” plant that, um, works. You see, the experimental facility, originally built in the late ’90s just outside Denali National Park, cost more than projected, produced power only intermittently, and was more or less a fiasco. Five years ago, it was closed down, and now it sits unused. Activists who were worried about it back when it was “clean” are even more worried now. But Alaska’s congressional delegation, which squeezed the provision in, hastens to assure us that all is well. Says an aide to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), “It’s certainly not a boondoggle.” Whew.