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Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 5:16 PM
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Soaring_Higher Soaring_Higher is offline
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New coal plant for Illinois rises from ashes

New coal plant for Illinois rises from ashes

June 12, 2009 10:26 AM

WASHINGTON - Federal officials announced an agreement this morning that will restart plans to build an experimental coal plant in Mattoon, Ill. Supporters hailed the news as a victory for the Illinois economy and for efforts to curb global warming.

The agreement will at least temporarily resurrect the so-called FutureGen project, which the Bush administration had discontinued in 2008, citing rising cost estimates. The plant is expected to cost more than $1.5 billion
If completed, FutureGen would be the first commercial-scale effort in the country to test carbon capture and sequestration technology--an attempt to collect the greenhouse gas emissions from coal before they enter the atmosphere, then store those gases underground.

The deal announced today is between the Energy Department and the FutureGen Alliance, a public-private consortium of coal users and producers.

In a move that Energy Secretary Steven Chu has hinted at for months, the Energy Department pledged today to spend about $1.1 billion to pursue the project, with nearly all the money coming from the economic stimulus bill that Congress passed earlier this year. The department will also take steps, beginning next month, to re-start preliminary design and budgeting work on the project.

The FutureGen Alliance will raise and spend an estimated $400 to $600 billion on the project. Early next year, after completing cost estimates and fundraising activities, the alliance and the department will decide whether to move ahead with the plant or to discontinue it.

Chu said the steps reflect the Obama administration's commitment "to rapidly developing carbon capture and sequestration technology as part of a comprehensive plan to create jobs, develop clean energy and reduce climate change pollution."

He said that "developing this technology is critically important for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. and around the world."

President Obama supported FutureGen when he was a senator from Illinois. Even before he won the White House, Illinois lawmakers, led by Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, were pushing Obama to revive the project if elected. Durbin's staff worked for five months after Obama's inauguration to help broker a deal, and Durbin met frequently with Chu on the subject.

The FutureGen Alliance estimates that the project would create 600 to 700 construction jobs in Mattoon and 100 permanent jobs at the plant.

Durbin hailed today's announcement as a "historic moment for both our state and our country."

"In my time in Congress," he said in a statement, "I can't recall a project that has greater scientific and practical significance than FutureGen, not to mention the enormous economic benefit it will have in Illinois."

--Jim Tankersley

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Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 10:49 PM
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nomarandlee nomarandlee is offline
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Such awesome news. I am glad the Bush admin. and the radical greens weren't able to stop this project. Even if one thinks there is no such thing as "clean coal" the truth of it is that China isn't turning its back on its most abundant energy source and even if we don't implement this as a solution in this country selling it or even giving it to China could only be beneficial.
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Old Posted Jun 13, 2009, 12:22 PM
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The reason the Bush adm. stopped the project is that the Illinois town of Mattoon was selected rather than on of the Texas towns in the running.

In Mattoon, FutureGen coal-cleaning plan gets a second chance
U.S. again studies Illinois' FutureGen
By Bob Secter | Tribune reporter
June 13, 2009

..........The project, on the drawing boards for years, involves an unusual partnership of energy companies and the federal government and was at one time heartily embraced by former President George W. Bush.

Dozens of communities across the country bid for the chance to host FutureGen, which carried with it a promise of new jobs, investment and a slice of international attention. The list eventually was winnowed to four communities: Mattoon and nearby Tuscola in Illinois and two others in Texas.

Partnership officials settled on Mattoon in late 2007, but the Bush administration immediately signaled its displeasure and within weeks had yanked funding...........

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