Chairman Gordon Comments on the End of FutureGen
(Washington, DC) – Earlier today, the Department of Energy informed the FutureGen Alliance that it was formally ending all funding obligations to this project. FutureGen had been a Presidential initiative to develop a first-of-its-kind zero-emissions coal-fired power plant.
Bart Gordon, Chairman of the Science and Technology Committee, made the following statement:
“I remain unconvinced that the Department of Energy’s decision to terminate support for the FutureGen project is the right thing to do. The Committee has been trying to get answers about the Department’s actions, but those answers have been vague and unpersuasive. In fact, following a hearing the committee held on this matter, the Department has refused for over two months to provide the Committee with documentation that would allow Congress to evaluate how this project was managed by the Department. Moreover, the Department is now charging forward with their new program before the Congress has been provided with the details of their plan and its costs.”
“Though I am aware that the Department has taken the FutureGen program in a dramatically different direction, it is unclear that it is the best approach to ensure that we will accelerate the development of carbon capture and sequestration technologies as quickly and cheaply as possible. Surely, the Committee deserves to review the documents we asked for two months ago before we can begin to evaluate the Department’s suggested path forward.”
The Committee’s Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee has scheduled a business meeting for Thursday, June 19, at 2 pm to consider issuing authorization for a subpoena designed to compel the Department to produce records related to the Department’s decision on the FutureGen cancellation.
The Science and Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment held a hearing on April 15, 2008 to probe the Department’s handling of the FutureGen project. The Department had claimed that the costs of the project had sky-rocketed above the original cost estimate. However, no new cost estimate had been performed since the Department signed a Cooperative Agreement with the FutureGen Alliance in March of 2007 valued at $1.8 billion. The real reasons for canceling this program, and launching a new set of initiatives that the Department has continued to label as “FutureGen” much to the confusion of the public and Congress, remain obscure.
For more information, please see the Committee’s website.