Energy secretary, governor visit site

A gathering at the Kemper County coal plant Friday produced strange stage-mates: Republican Gov. Phil Bryant and Obama administration Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, both defending the plant, if from different philosophies.

Both said the over-budget, behind-schedule clean coal plant’s technology is key to the future of the state and country and naysayers should take a longer view. Moniz said the Mississippi Power Co. plant, which the feds have hoped could serve as a benchmark for tougher coal-burning regulations, will help battle global warming. Bryant said it will help spur economic development.

“I consider seeing this plant today a look at the future,” Moniz said. “… The risks of global warming and climate change are very real. We are witnessing the impacts already, with droughts, increased storm intensity, wildfires.”

Bryant noted that Moniz and energy ministry officials from eight countries visiting the plant “are not here to see a failure … but for one of the most advanced, most efficient plants the world has ever seen.”

“You’re always going to have critics,” Bryant said. “… Nobody ever built a statue of a critic.”

Clarion Ledger