FutureGen, a Hope of Rural Illinois, is Cancelled


FutureGen was supposed to produce electricity from coal without polluting or emitting carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. In December, the US Department of Energy announced FutureGen would arise in central Illinois and then, a month later, the US DOE said FutureGen wouldn't be built at all. The $1.8 billion project was cancelled. (Residents in Tuscola, Illinois, gathered, above, to hear if their town was picked for FutureGen.)

What happened? The DOE said the dang thing had gotten too expensive. (It started at $1 billion and had nearly doubled in cost over the years.) Illinois legislators are asking for an investigation, convinced a Texan at DOE killed the project because it was to be built in Illinois instead of within a day's drive of the Alamo.

The Washington Post editorial page said, good riddance: "As noble as FutureGen was, putting so much hope in just one project was not the way to go about it." The Boston Globe editorial page came to the opposite conclusion: "Congress should call on the Government Accountability Office to investigate how the department made its decision to pull out of a project it had once hailed as key to producing clean power with coal."