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Press Releases :: January 30, 2008

Gordon Comments on FutureGen

(Washington, DC) The Chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology Bart Gordon (D-TN) today issued the following statement on news the Administration is planning to pull their support for FutureGen – a project intended to demonstrate next generation coal-fired power production and the centerpiece of the Department of Energy’s program on clean coal technology. 

FutureGen, as portrayed by the Administration, is intended to demonstrate technologies that capture and sequester greenhouse gas emissions, and to produce hydrogen from a coal-fired power generation plant.  The project was unveiled by the Administration in February 2003 as part of their effort to showcase new technologies to address climate change and energy security.   

Chairman Gordon commented today:

“I am deeply troubled by the rumors reported in the press today concerning the FutureGen project.  If true, withdrawal of DOE support for this project represents a dramatic departure from one of this Administration’s most visible and ambitious energy and climate initiatives.” 

“For five years the Administration has touted the prospective benefits of FutureGen, and Congress has provided funds to move this project forward.  Over this time period Congress has allocated $173 million in taxpayer dollars to this program.  Now, we hear through the rumor mill that DOE may be abandoning this program at a time when the U.S. should be investing heavily in carbon-neutral energy technologies.”    

“If the Department has serious concerns about FutureGen, DOE should come up to Capitol Hill and talk to us about it.  This is not something that should be simply included in the overall presentation of the 2009 budget request.  Congress and the public deserve far better justification, analysis, and consultation before decisions on investments of this magnitude and importance are made.” 

“You can expect that this Committee will exercise its oversight role and determine the current status and plans for this program.  Major initiatives should not be launched or cancelled on a whim.  DOE must be positioned to move forward the development of carbon-neutral technologies for the use of coal and other fuels if we are to combat climate change and build a more secure energy future.  If the current configuration of the FutureGen project is not the best path to these goals, a thorough discussion based on the merits is in order.  Surely, we need a clear path forward. ” 

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