Group warns utilities about proposed Range coal gas plant risks

An Iron Range citizen group is cautioning public utilities in Minnesota against any power purchase deal with the startup company Excelsior Energy, the proponent of the coal gasification Mesaba Energy Project. Mike Jennings posts a story for the Hibbing Daily Tribune:

The message, which a leader of CAMP says was sent by e-mail last week to more than 300 recipients, lists concerns intended to cast doubt on Excelsior’s claim that it is likely to receive federal loan guarantees covering most of the project cost. It also cites findings by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and administrative law judges that have dealt repeated blows to Excelsior’s prospects.

CAMP is presenting its arguments to municipal utilities in response to reports that the Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association (MMUA) has helped Excelsior present utilities with arguments in favor of investing in the company’s planned Mesaba plant, which is estimated to cost more than $2 billion.

Charlotte Neigh of CAMP said her group put more than 50 hours of research into identifying officials associated with municipal utilities in Minnesota that produce electric power. Recipients of the message included utility managers, members of public utility commissions, city administrators and mayors and city council members, she said.

The project remains where it has been for years now, proposed and deeply political. No customer, no plant, millions of taxpayer and Iron Range dollars down the carbon sequestration tube that calls itself “clean coal.”

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