Backers of the proposed FutureGen power plant have reached an agreement with the leaders of 17 labor unions.
Under the agreement, local unions will lead the hiring process. That's intended to give workers from west central Illinois the first chance at getting construction jobs.
FutureGen aims to capture harmful emissions produced when coal is burned for electricity. Instead of releasing the pollutants into the atmosphere, they would be stored deep underground.
Coal emissions are considered a significant contributor to climate change.
US Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said the technology has been proven on a smaller scale.
“And the theory is, this plant, FutureGen 2, will hold the emissions from 50 coal-fired electric power plans in Illinois for 50 years,” Durbin said.
Plans call for the plant to be built in Meredosia in Morgan County.
Operators are still awaiting final federal approval.