U.S. Energy Dept. Might Drop Support for FutureGen Coal Power Plant

FutureGen is one of the most advanced projects for determining whether emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, can be captured from coal-fired plants and stored, or sequestered, underground.

Published: 31-Jan-2008

Energy Secretary Samuel P. Bodman told lawmakers yesterday that the Bush administration might drop its support for a $1.5 billion coal-fired power plant designed to store greenhouse gases underground, citing mounting cost estimates and other possible technologies.

The project, known as FutureGen, has long had the backing of the administration, which last year asked Congress to appropriate $108 million for the plant, and several states had competed for the site. On Monday night, President Bush said in his State of the Union message, "Let us fund new technologies that can generate coal power while capturing carbon emissions."

But in a meeting yesterday at the offices of Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Bodman told the senator and six other lawmakers from Illinois, where the plant was to be built, that he did not believe in the project, which he said he "inherited," and that he was going to consider other carbon sequestration projects instead, according to a person in the meeting.

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