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Bush administration threats to FutureGen an outrageous doublecross

January 30, 2008

Bush administration threats to FutureGen an outrageous doublecross, UMWA says

    The surprise announcement by Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman that the Bush administration may be ending its support for the FutureGen clean coal plant in Illinois is “an outrageous doublecross by an administration that appears to delight in playing keep-away from American workers,” United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts said today.

    “From Day One of this effort, the Bush administration said it supported not just the concept of this effort but the actual implementation of it,” Roberts said. “The site selection process was fair, and the announcement that FutureGen was coming to southern Illinois brought a much-needed wave of relief to a region that has been hard-hit by job losses brought on by other economic policies this administration has pursued, as well as the 1990 Clean Air Act.”

    “To now say–just weeks after the location of the plant was announced–that it is too expensive is the height of hypocrisy,” Roberts said. “The Bush administration spends as much in Iraq in a week as it would cost to build this plant and put it into operation. One is left to wonder whether spending American taxpayers’ dollars on putting Americans to work in our own country is even part of this administration’s priorities.”

     The FutureGen project is designed to develop and demonstrate breakthrough technologies that will capture and store carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. Currently, over 50 percent of America’s energy needs are met by plants burning coal to generate electricity, and the demand is only expected to grow.

    “America needs the technology that would be developed through FutureGen,” Roberts said. “We are the Saudi Arabia of coal, and we should be the global leaders in developing and implementing clean coal processes that will allow us to meet our future energy needs in an environmentally responsible way.

    “Indeed, the Bush administration has repeatedly said this exact same thing, up to and including the State of the Union address just two days ago,” Roberts said. “But now that it’s time to actually do something, they’re backing away. It’s yet another example of the sad but unfortunately consistent history of an administration that has repeatedly put American workers last.”

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