Coles County says 'no' to FutureGen

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.

Comments

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cretis16 wrote on August 11, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Durbin is a behind the back wheeler/dealer....he sold out Coles county on this one.

WiltonDiary wrote on August 15, 2010 at 9:08 am

FYI: Coles County sold out on this one.

1) There is no such thing as "clean coal."

2) Bush offered this plant to his friends in Texas and they said NO.

3) You hate the President and Sen Durbin: What do they owe you?

4) As farmers you should know you reap what you sow.

Shane wrote on August 11, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Although I understand that the people of Coles county feel betrayed, I cannot understand how they can reject a 1.2 Billion dollar project. Yes, it is not FutureGen the original, but it is still a huge project that will bring revenue and jobs to the county. I think Coles county officials need to look at the bigger picture, and what is best for their citizens. Sure, you have made your point, but at what cost? Let the tongue lashings begin...

poorkid_buckethead wrote on August 18, 2010 at 12:08 am

They're not really rejecting it; they're not getting the whole project anymore. All they're getting is the waste. There won't be any jobs in Coles County from this and the people with whom I've spoken don't want the possible danger of waste leakage when they get no benefit in return. How would that be "best for their citizens?"

sahuoy wrote on August 11, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Given all the research and professional endorsements to build at Mattoon this will be a fiasco should Durbin be playing political games which result in no jobs for Illinois against the rank and file researchers choosing Illinois as the best location. Have to watch how this plays out. Both Johnson and Durbin and their constituents are on short leashes. I won't forget come next election, I vote either way, preferring the best man for the job given the circumstances at the time of election. I understand Mattoon' position but rejecting the revision in hopes of acquiring the whole project is very risky. Meredosia, like Mattoon is somewhat desolate and western Illinois is needing jobs and all other areas. With Mattoon' withdrawal from Future Gen 2.0, a replacement should be easily found given all the applicants that originally applied. I don't see what leverage Mattoon has to win the acquisition of the whole project when it is saving billioins being built in a retrofitted plant which being on a river also allows barge traffic for coal. Mattoon only has highway access. Not a wise way to spend tax dollars Mattoon. If Mattoon were to get the entire project just how expensive are those jobs it would create and how long would it take before the tax payor recouped the investment if ever. Perhaps putting the plant at Meredosia is better for Ameren when competing against Commonwealth Edison or Duke Energy as the midwest population increases since the eastern coast is full with people through Ohio.

BigTenFan wrote on August 11, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Wow! Coles County gives Durbin the middle finger! Well done!

WiltonDiary wrote on August 15, 2010 at 9:08 am

Obviously Durbin gave you the middle finger. That is a job really well done. You hate Durbin and Obama, what do you expect?

President Obama is briefed on the News Gazette and the feelings of Central Illinois.

neptune1 wrote on August 11, 2010 at 6:08 pm

I remember when Durban said.."...President Obama is behind this project, and we will see Future Gen here in Coles County." This guy ought to held accountable.....a dump is not a futuregen. Hats off to Coles county for getting out of this crumb that Durbin offered.

jthartke wrote on August 11, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Typical. If Coles County can't have it all, they are going to stomp home to pout. So much for that $14 million dollar interstate interchange. I thought the NG and most of the righties out here did not want the government to waste money on pork spending. Isn't cutting the cost of this project in half by retrofitting an older plant a far more effective way to spend your precious tax dollars? Plus, I thought the Stimulus (and government spending in general) wasn't creating any jobs...then why is Congressman Johnson so upset??

yates wrote on August 11, 2010 at 8:08 pm

You get promised a Caddy and then they deliver you a Yugo. I also would tell them where to stick their dump.

WiltonDiary wrote on August 15, 2010 at 9:08 am

Of course you would; that is the reason you get nothing.

poorkid_buckethead wrote on August 18, 2010 at 12:08 am

They're not pouting. They just don't want dangerous waste near them when they're not getting any jobs from it.

Dia333 wrote on August 11, 2010 at 10:08 pm

I'm SO with you, Coles County!! After being promised a coal treatment PLANT, rejected
after Mattoon was selected - and then "offered" to be merely a "dumping ground" for WASTE
is a slap in the face by the DOE in my opinion!

AND - I'm disappointed in the lackluster efforts
of Sen Dick Durbin! Just where is your allegiance to the people you're supposed to
represent?? US Rep, Timothy Johnson seems to be the *only* one to have voiced
indignation when this project was suddenly rejected following the initial OK - but it appears
that he, too, has been stifled !

WiltonDiary wrote on August 15, 2010 at 9:08 am

FIRST: You need to ask yourselves; What has Tim Johnson ever done to help working Americans in his district?

It is time to dump Tim Johnson and elect someone who cares about you.

cats kradle wrote on August 12, 2010 at 10:08 am

Way to go, Coles County! Way to show em some Coles County pride! Anything less than everything ain't good enough for Coles County! I'm sure that the 10 percent of your workers who are unemployed would have signed this letter, too, if they hadn't been out looking for work and wondering where all the jobs went. It's a mystery, ain't it?

neptune1 wrote on August 12, 2010 at 10:08 am

Who wants a dump in your backyard?

poorkid_buckethead wrote on August 18, 2010 at 12:08 am

Actually, I know of some people who were looking forward to the jobs created but are completely against 2.0. There will be no jobs in Coles County now. That's the whole point.

loopillini wrote on August 12, 2010 at 10:08 am

this is all about politics...Meredosia is represented by a Democrat and Mattoon by a Republican...whenever Dick and Barry are involved it is ONLY about politics...not what is best for the people of Illinois!

WiltonDiary wrote on August 15, 2010 at 9:08 am

You are right it is about politics. The Bush administration gave FutureGen to Mattoon because no one in Texas wanted it! NOW everyone in Champaign-Mattoon HATE the current President what does he owe you?

Shane wrote on August 13, 2010 at 2:08 pm

So, if the dump is the original dump, you are all for it, but if its Dump 2.0, its no good? A dump is a dump, I learned that after spending a month in Mattoon one weekend...