U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin has asked Energy Secretary Steven Chu to approve the next phase of central Illinois' FutureGen clean-coal project. Durbin's office says the Illinois Commerce Commission has voted in favor of a purchase agreement for the power that the Meredosia plant would generate. The next phase of the project would include preliminary design, pre-construction and engineering. Durbin says the ICC's decision solidifies FutureGen's ``financial viability.'' He says a power plant in Meredosia can start be retrofitted once the next phase receives Energy Department approval. Durbin met with the energy secretary earlier this month in Washington. Meredosia is on the Illinois River about 50 miles west of Springfield.
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