Congressman Urges Continued Public Support for FutureGen in Southern Illinois

Congressman Urges Continued Public Support for FutureGen in Southern Illinois
By:  Carly O'Keefe
Carterville, IL -- Heartland Congressman Jerry Costello met with local elected leaders Saturday to fire up efforts to bring FutureGen to Southern Illinois.  FutureGen is a proposed 275-Megawatt prototype power plant that would produce zero-emissions energy using coal.
"There are a handful of states with the natural resources to make this project possible, and Illinois, we believe is at the top of the list," said Congressman Costello.
To remain at "the top of the list", Illinois has to prove to seven people that it's the state for the job. Each member of the group was selected out of utility company employees nationwide. Together, they form an alliance that will act as the U.S. Department of Energy's partner in the FutureGen Project.
"This group of seven business people will have a huge influence on all the decisions with financing and location. So we are going back now and redoubling our efforts and saying the people of southern Illinois want this," said Costello.
Congressman Costello met with southern Illinois Mayors and County Commissioners, urging each council or board respectively to pass a resolution of support.  Support, Marion Mayor Bob Butler feels won't be difficult to generate. 
"Something of this magnitude would be great for the entire area, it would create jobs, it would give our economy a boost and these are great plusses," Butler said.
The $1.1 billion dollar proposed power plant would bring an estimated 2500 construction jobs, 300-400 plant operation jobs, and could help revitalize Illinois' coal industry.
"It's pretty well been on the ropes and I think it's coming back, and it should. We have coal reserves for 200 years and the country needs it, Southern Illinois needs it," said Butler.
Ten-thousand southern Illinois signatures have already been collected in favor of FutureGen. Costello plans to give the petition, along with the resolutions of support from he hopes every city and county in the region to the newly-formed Alliance for review. 
"What we want to say is that it's obvious that the state of Illinois and the Illinois congressional delegation are unified in our support of this project, and we believe this project should be built in southern Illinois," Costello said.