Coal gasification everywhere! Every where you go, oop, urp, there’s another one, it’s the canned blurbs on this Mesaba Project boondoggle. Can you stand it? And yes, there’s more! I heard it was on MPR too, but there’s nothing on the web, their site takes a while to catch up.


You know, I’m not really even a Beatles fan, but my tape loop is stuck on relics, right now “The Taxman” cometh, anyway, while you’re waiting for MPR, see how many material errors you can find in the article below:

Congress passes tax benefit for coal gassification plant
CHRIS WILLIAMS – Associated Press Writer

MINNEAPOLIS â?? An company with plans to build a clean-burning coal power plant on the Iron Range could get tens of millions of dollars in tax credits from one of the final bills approved by the Republican-controlled Congress.

Early Saturday morning, the U.S. Senate approved a catch-all bill that includes $38 billion worth of tax cuts over 5 years, including a special measure backed by Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn.

Coleman said in a news release that the provision will allow Minnesota’s Excelsior Energy Inc. to qualify for federal clean coal tax credits. Specifically, it changed technical language in last year’s energy bill that excluded the project.

“After nine months of hard work, we were able to find a solution that keeps in place the intention of the clean coal tax credits, but does not penalize Excelsior for doing exactly what we want them to do by creating cleaner energy,” he said.

The $1.2 billion Hoyt Lakes project by Excelsior, a partnership of former Northern States Power Co. executives, calls for using a clean-burning technology for making electricity from coal in a process called coal gasification.

If the project moves forward, it’s backers say it could create hundreds of local construction jobs and many permanent jobs when commercial operations begin.

Co-President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Micheletti said becoming eligible for the tax credits was “a very significant deal.”

“I was up so late last night waiting for calls and watching the computer,” he said Saturday. He finally got word that the Senate passed the bill at 5:30 a.m. Saturday.

Under the new law, Excelsior will apply to the federal government for the tax credits. He said the company would probably seek between $100 million and $200 million worth.

“We will have to be sure we are not greedy,” he said. “We will ask for what we need.”

He was confident the departments of finance and energy would look favorably on his company’s application in the competitive process. “We feel very, very good because we’ve got terrific technology,” he said.

He said he planned to break ground in early 2008. The project is currently undergoing environmental reviews by the state and federal government. The state Public Utilities Commission is also examining financial aspects of the deal.


Chris Williams can be reached at cwilliams(at)

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