Over the break, our deep, close, personal friend Laura Miller and her coal-burnin’ buddies at Summit Power won themselves an air quality permit from the TCEQ that puts a $2.2 billion coal gasification plant near Odessa that much closer to reality. Only place I’ve seen this news mentioned is on a couple of West Texas outlets. Miller is the director of projects in Texas for the Seattle-based company, which is calling its proposed plant here the Texas Clean Energy Project. They have a way with euphemisms. Gotta give them that. Sure, it’ll be a “first-of-a-kind integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) 400 MW power/poly-gen plant that will capture 90 percent of the carbon dioxide, 99 percent of the sulfur, more than 95 percent of the mercury, and eliminate more than 90 percent of the nitrogen oxides produced by the process, making it overall the cleanest coal-fueled power project ever permitted in Texas,” according to the press release. But it’s still a big-ass coal-fired power plant. But that sounds scary. Now, a Clean Energy Project? That sounds like a bunch of goateed scientists in a lab figuring out how to trick bacteria into farting high-octane gasoline.
You also have to give Miller and her cohorts credit for their timing. The TCEQ issued the permit on December 28. Just a few days later and the Clean Energy Project would have gotten itself involved in the nasty spat between the state and the EPA that could have posed serious problems for the plant.