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Report: Bush officials intentionally killed carbon capture project

smokestackOfficials in the Bush administration intentionally used inaccurate cost figures and promoted a plan experts said was unworkable before ultimately killing the FutureGen carbon capture and sequestration pilot project, according to a new US Congressional report.

Highly touted as an effort that could make coal an environmentally benign source of energy, FutureGen was to have been a 275-megawatt integrated gasification combined cycle coal power plant that captured and sequestered carbon dioxide emissions — the first of its kind in the world. However, by January of last year, former Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman killed the project, turning it into a private effort with “limited government subsidies.”

“To date, nothing has come of this new initiative,” stated a press release from the US House’s Committee on Science and Technology.

“To knowingly abandon a program that held out the hope of making a real impact in the effort to reduce greenhouse gases from coal in favor of another program that held out no hope at all — not commercially and not to provide technological innovation to capture and sequester carbon — is inexcusable,” said committee chairman Bart Gordon.

“(Department of Energy) officials knew that they were manipulating the numbers, and that the ‘restructured’ FutureGen would not accomplish what had been planned, but they went ahead anyway,” added Brad Miller, chairman of the House Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee. “In the process, they lost the participation of China and India, which are some of the largest users of coal in the world. The damage to U.S. leadership on ‘clean coal’ technology, and climate change generally, cannot be overstated.”

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