Durbin and Illinois Delegation Members: FutureGen Alliance Board Approves Agreement

Plans for Advanced Clean Coal Plant in Mattoon Move Forward

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) today commended the FutureGen Alliance Board of Directors for overwhelmingly approving the agreement that was recently negotiated between the Department of Energy (DOE) and members of the FutureGen Alliance.


“For nearly a year and a half, the people of Illinois have endured delays, reversals and disagreements over costs and funding of FutureGen. Today, patience and perseverance pay off – FutureGen at Mattoon is finally ready to move forward.


“The agreement that was reached by the Department of Energy and the FutureGen Alliance is an historic moment for both our state and our country. In my time in Congress, I can’t recall a project that has greater promise and practical significance than FutureGen, not to mention the enormous economic benefit it will have in Illinois.


“I thank my colleagues in the Senate, Congressmen Johnson, Costello and Shimkus and the entire Illinois Congressional Delegation and the State of Illinois for working with me to keep this project alive for the Obama Administration. We are not finished. We must continue to move forward, working with the FutureGen Alliance and the Department of Energy to take advantage of the $1 billion in Recovery Act funding available for this technology.”


Congressmen Tim Johnson (R-IL), Jerry Costello (D-IL) and John Shimkus (R-IL) also commended the FutureGen Alliance and the Department of Energy for coming together to restart the FutureGen project:

“This is a positive development and fantastic news for Coles County, and if the promise of this technology holds true, the entire country,” said Johnson, whose 15th Congressional District includes Mattoon. “The people of Coles County and Illinois have invested their time and energy into this project over many years. It’s been a heartbreaking process at times but they have kept the faith, their leaders have maintained the momentum even when the federal government turned its back on them. This is a just reward, justified by the scientific community, the environmental community and the investment by Illinois and Coles County. We will continue to monitor developments in the months ahead and do all we can to bring the promise of clean coal and our energy independence to fruition.”

“This is a very positive development and a testament to the hard work of our delegation, the resilience of the FutureGen Alliance and the support of the Obama administration,” said Costello. “As the Congress continues to debate a national energy policy, one thing becomes even more clear, and that is the need for a robust carbon capture and sequestration capability. FutureGen will help us bring this to fruition, and after attempts by the Bush administration to scrap the project, we are moving forward. This is good news for Illinois and great news for the nation.”


"I am very pleased that the FutureGen Alliance and the Department of Energy have reached this agreement. Since 2003, I have been supporting the construction of FutureGen in Illinois. The research at FutureGen will also help continue the use of coal as a reliable source of energy in our nation's future,” said Shimkus.


For seventeen months since the Bush Administration abandoned the FutureGen program, Durbin has spearheaded an effort in Congress to keep the project alive. He gathered support for legislation to protect and secure funding and organized countless meetings between the State of Illinois, the Illinois Congressional Delegation, the Department of Energy and the FutureGen Alliance so that everyone involved was ready to move forward on day one of the Obama Administration. FutureGen at Mattoon is now five years ahead of any other project, making it the best hope for rapid progress on large-scale, integrated carbon capture and carbon sequestration.