The Environment

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  Doe Revives Futuregen, Reversing Bush-Era DecisionJune 14, 2009 20:59 The Obama administration gave conditional support today for a federal-industry partnership that would build an advanced coal-burning power plant in Illinois to trap and store carbon dioxide emissions, reversing a Bush-era decision to abandon the FutureGen project.

The Energy Department plans to contribute slightly more than $1 billion to the project. The announcement follows pressure from Illinois lawmakers -- including Dick Durbin, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat -- who had savaged former Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman's decision to abandon the plan early last year.

With a former Illinois senator now in the White House, DOE has changed directions on FutureGen. President Obama's Energy secretary, Steven Chu, today announced a "provisional agreement" with the FutureGen Alliance, a consortium of major coal and utility companies such as American Electric Power Co. Inc. and Peabody Energy Corp.

"This important step forward for FutureGen reflects this 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," Chu said in a prepared statement.

DOE said FutureGen would be the first commercial-scale, "fully integrated" carbon capture and sequestration project in the country. The plant would marry the use of integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) technology with greenhouse gas emission controls.