FutureGen's Big Announcement Comes Tuesday

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Officials in Odessa and Jewett could learn Tuesday whether either community will host FutureGen.

The more than $1.5 billion prototype coal-fired power plant is touted as being pollution-free.

An alliance of coal and power companies working with the U.S. government is set to choose between the two Texas cities and two others in Illinois.

The announcement is expected from Washington.

The FutureGen Alliance has labeled the 275-megawatt project cutting-edge.

Illinois is the nation's leading coal producer; Texas is the leading consumer of coal.

Jewett is a town of 860, located 135 miles northwest of Houston and the site is on top of a coal mine.

Penwell -- about 15 miles southwest of Odessa -- is a former oil boomtown with about 75 residents. It would use coal produced elsewhere and delivered by rail.

A look at the four towns hoping to land FutureGen, a $1.5 billion prototype coal-fired power plant that its developers says will be nearly pollution-free:

--Location: About 160 miles south of Chicago.
--Population: 4,400.
--About the site: Sits above an underground sandstone formation that would be used for carbon dioxide storage, close to Illinois coal reserves, centrally located in U.S. and close to major highways, railroads, power lines and pipelines. Last of the four finalists selected, nudging out Effingham. Risk of leak puts residents at risk.

--Location: About 180 miles south of Chicago.
--Population: About 18,000.
--About the site: Above rock layer, close to coal reserves and major infrastructure. Greatest population around potential site, potentially putting most people at risk if there is a chemical release.

--Location: About 135 miles northwest of Houston.
--Population: About 860.
--About the site: Existing infrastructure because of neighboring 2,500-megawatt, coal-fired power plant. Wells already drilled through bedrock might allow carbon dioxide to escape.

--Location: About 370 miles west of Dallas and near oil boomtown of Odessa.
--Population: Fewer than 100 residents.
--About the site: Pipeline carrying carbon dioxide for oil industry already passes through area. Risk of damage to wildlife, wetlands and cultural resources during construction because utilities would have to be run farther than Illinois sites.

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