SENATOR SELIGER TO FILE OMNIBUS FUTUREGEN BILL
Legislative Package Will Significantly Strengthen Texas' FutureGen Bid
AUSTIN, Texas - State Senator Kel Seliger announced plans today to file legislation that will significantly strengthen Texas' bid to become home to FutureGen, a $1 billion clean-coal demonstration project. "I am proud to author a bill so integral to Texas' effort to win this project. Passage of this legislation will markedly enhance both Texas proposals, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to make this contribution to our state's pursuit of FutureGen," said Seliger.
FutureGen is a federally sponsored project that will use gasification technology to produce coal-fueled electricity with near-zero emissions. Texas has two of the final four sites in national competition for FutureGen - one near Odessa in the Permian Basin and the other near Jewett in the Heart of the Brazos region. The other two sites in contention for the project are in Illinois.
Seliger's FutureGen legislation will establish a mechanism for the State of Texas to enter into a formal agreement with the FutureGen Industrial Alliance (Alliance) if a Texas site is selected. In addition, the bill will provide a sales tax exemption for all infrastructure related to the project. The omnibus legislation also will help create a market for the power generated at the FutureGen by exempting the electricity from commercial sales tax.
Seliger's Senatorial District includes the location of the proposed FutureGen site near Odessa. State Representative Byron Cook of Corsicana, whose legislative district includes the proposed carbon dioxide injection site for the Heart of the Brazos proposal, plans to file identical legislation in the Texas House. "The fact that East and West Texas lawmakers are joining forces to author this legislation showcases the spirit of collaboration fueling Texas' pursuit of FutureGen," Seliger said.
The omnibus FutureGen bill is the continuation of a two-year legislative effort to prepare the best possible host site proposals. The Texas Legislature passed, and Gov. Rick Perry signed into law, House Bill 2201 in 2005 and House Bill 149 in 2006. Gov. Perry and Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael L. Williams, who chairs the FutureGen Texas Advisory Board, have long championed the state's commitment to bring FutureGen to Texas.
Seliger's bill proposes an aggressive package of financial and other incentives designed to ensure that FutureGen is awarded to Texas. Final best value offerings for each proposed site are to be submitted by Texas and Illinois in June of this year. The Alliance has announced that it plans to select a FutureGen host site by September 1, 2007.
Also key to Texas' FutureGen efforts are strong local teams coordinating the best value offering at the two sites. "The simple fact is Texas would not have two sites on the FutureGen shortlist were it not for the tremendous hard work and countless contributions of the local teams," said Seliger. "I applaud the Permian Basin team for all they have done to bring us to this point."
Seliger was sworn in to the Texas Senate to serve the citizens of Senate District 31 on March 2, 2004 to complete the term of former Senator Teel Bivins of Amarillo. He was re-elected to serve a full, four-year term on November 4, 2004. The district spans 26 counties from the Panhandle to the Permian Basin and includes Amarillo, Midland, Odessa and Big Spring.