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Stalled Coal-Plant Emission Project Wins U.S. Grant

A long-stalled project to capture carbon-dioxide emissions from a coal plant in Illinois will get a $1 billion grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, which the operator said will allow construction to begin this year.

The approval is “a boost to demonstrating fully integrated carbon capture and storage technology at commercial-scale coal-fueled power plant,” Ken Humphreys, chief executive of the FutureGen Alliance, said in a statement today. The full cost of the project is $1.65 billion.

The Department of Energy issued its finding on the environmental review.

The decision came as Republican senators criticized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for proposing to require all new coal plants to install carbon-capture equipment. Technology industry advocates say that gear isn’t available yet on a commercial scale.

The EPA’s proposal sets the stage for the more far-reaching set of final rules governing emissions from existing power plants, due by June. With low-cost natural gas displacing coal in many power facilities, rules on existing plants will take on heightened importance.

Carbon-dioxide emissions since the Industrial Revolution have led to a warming of the Earth’s temperature in the past 50 years, worsening forest fires, drought and coastal flooding, according to the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

To deal with the threat of global warming, President Barack Obama directed the EPA to cap carbon pollution from power plants, which account for 40 percent of U.S. emissions.

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