Thursday, February 7, 2008

Jerry Costello on FutureGen

Here's an email from Rep. Costello regarding the cancellation of the FutureGen project:

I wanted to drop you a note to update you on legislative issues that may be of interest.

Last week, in a stunning reversal, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman formally announced that the Bush administration was abandoning the FutureGen clean coal power plant project, almost five years to the day that President Bush announced his signature energy proposal. As proposed, FutureGen was to be a public/private partnership to build a 275-megawatt prototype power plant with emissions equal to those of natural gas, focusing on carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies that store carbon dioxide underground. The project is widely viewed as extremely important for the future of coal, our nation’s energy independence and good environmental stewardship.

In December, after a lengthy selection process, the FutureGen Alliance of Energy Companies, the private consortium selected to work with the Department of Energy (DOE), named Mattoon, Illinois, as the site for the project, based largely on the geologic makeup of the area. Two of the four finalist sites were located in the President’s home state, Texas. The DOE has already spent at least $13 million on the project, but instead plans to “restructure” its CCS research.

This decision is incredibly disappointing, and represents politics at its worst. It is hard to believe that this decision would have been made if the final site was in Texas. To start over now is a tremendous waste of time and money. The DOE’s restructured plan will delay this critical research by at least three years.

The Illinois Congressional delegation has spent the last five years working with state and local officials, the Alliance, and the DOE to develop this project, and we will continue to look for ways to press forward, because this is a matter of great importance to Illinois and the nation. The House Science Committee, of which I am a senior member, will hold hearings to analyze the specifics of this decision. Despite this setback, developing the best possible clean coal technologies will remain one of my highest priorities.

You are invited to sign up for future electronic newsletters. Please feel free to forward this message to friends and neighbors you think might be interested in this issue.


Jerry F. Costello
12th District of Illinois


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