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Texas clean coal company charged Energy Department for booze, travel

Texas clean coal company charged Energy Department for booze, travel

A now-bankrupt Texas company partnering with President Barack Obama's Energy Department on a clean coal project charged the federal government for spas, alcohol, and travel, the department's inspector general found.

The Energy Department’s inspector general published a report Tuesday finding the Texas Clean Energy Project, developed by Summit Texas Clean Energy, charged the agency more than $2.5 million for expenses the watchdog deemed “potentially unallowable,” including $1.2 million in lobbying costs and $1.3 million in “questionable or prohibited” travel-related expenses.

In January 2010, the Energy Department’s Office of Fossil Energy awarded Summit Texas Clean Energy a $1.7 billion agreement for a carbon capture and storage project.

The Texas Clean Energy Project promised to capture 2 million tons of carbon dioxide a year from a coal plant, or 90 percent of its annual emissions, and bury them underground.

An inspector general report that year found the Energy Department took actions “that increased its financial risk without assurances that the project would succeed.”

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