MATTOON — Coles County officials have rejected an offer to work with the Department of Energy on the retooled FutureGen 2.0 project.
"It is with great disappointment that I must inform you that the citizens, neighbors near the site, business leaders, and community leaders in Coles County are nearly unanimous in the belief that the pursuit of FutureGen 2.0, as proposed, is not in our best interest," Coles Together President Angela Griffin said in a letter today to U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. "We take this position with deep regret, but after thoughtful consideration. Unfortunately, the revised $1.2 billion project does not provide for the highest and best use of a Mattoon site that top scientists, researchers and engineers have determined to be the best location in the nation for a clean coal facility and on-site carbon capture and sequestration research.
"While I have nothing but the highest level of regard for the time and effort that you and the FutureGen Alliance expended to make this project viable, our challenges with FutureGen 2.0, as proposed by the Department of Energy, are too big to overcome."
In an interview with The News-Gazette, Griffin said she would be happy to work with the DOE on something different from FutureGen 2.0.
"We would be thrilled with the original or something that is very dissimilar from 2.0 that could be beneficial for our community," she said. "There is absolutely no support in the community. For every 97 people who said no there were three lukewarm yes or maybes."
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, predicted that FutureGen 2.0 would never be built.
"I contend that this FutureGen 2.0 will never come to fruition," he said Wednesday.