08/17/2010 12:33 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Big Coal "Expendables": Three Mile Island Firm to Build FutureGen 2.0? DOE Corruption?

Enough of these wimpy environmentalists and climate change naval gazers.

The same firm -- Babcock and Wilcox -- that built the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant is now in charge of building FutureGen 2.0, the nation's incredibly expensive, dangerous and controversial "clean coal" plant in Meredosia, Illinois.

I'm calling Sly Stallone and his number one box office The Expendables crew to save our souls from the clutches of Big Coal.

Coalfield residents in 24 states understand what it means to be expendable.

Today's breathtaking news that Big Coal and its utilities are ramping up construction of coal-fired plants in the largest expansion in 20 years is a telling reminder that the deathtoll from coal -- from mining, transportation, burning and deposing of ash -- will continue to pile up like a bad Stallone film until we commit to a coal-free future and transition to clean energy.

Stallone and his posse should start with FutureGen 2.0, this week's Big Coal scandal.

The sorta kinda "clean coal" chimera that is FutureGen 2.0 is not only the nation's billion dollar boondoggle of Big Coal welfare, but it's a reminder that the corruptive power of Big Coal lobbyists is alive and well.

For all of its sorta kinda illusive capture carbon and storage sloganeering, we only know two things for sure about FutureGen 2.0 -- it will dramatically INCREASE devastating coal mining operations and lock us into another century of coal, and it will continue to line the pockets of Big Coal lackeys in Congress and the White House.

Consider these tidbits of shameless coal pandering:

DOE Corruption -- Former CEO in Charge of FutureGen Rewards His Buddies

As the AP reported this week, "A top official in the Department of Energy office who oversees the FutureGen clean-coal project is a past president of a company newly chosen to retrofit a western Illinois power plant instead of finishing the original project in Mattoon."

The DOE's Former Company Contracted for FutureGen Also Built Three Mile Island

Here's a little background on Babcock and Wilcox and the Three Mile Island Disaster.

FutureGen Leader Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin Has Raked in Over $135,000 in Dirty Energy Lobby Money

Hailing FutureGen as the fight of his life, Big Coal snake oil salesman US Sen. Durbin continues to rake in the Big Coal and utility lobby dollars, including contributions from FutureGen 2.0's AmerenCIP utility sponsor.

Illinois Town Slated for CO2 Dump Tells FutureGen to Take Its Project and Shove It

As the AP reported this week, "An eastern Illinois town backed out of what was once a flagship energy project Wednesday after more than two years of political and financial ups and downs that saw the plans killed, revived and then radically altered."

FutureGen 2.0 Still Has No Answers For Possible Leaks and Earthquakes and Peak Coal Crises

As Richard Heinberg has pointed, "Yet there is a subtler but possibly even more decisive price tag for "clean coal": the energy cost. According to the most recent estimate (from Harvard University's Belfer Center (5), at least 30 percent of the energy produced by burning coal will be needed to run the system for capturing, compressing, pumping, and burying CO2."

Instead of Dirty Coal, When Will Sen. Durbin and Illinois Lead in Clean Energy?

As Illinois clean energy and coal mining activist Will Reynolds says, FutureGen is like "someone in the 1920's researching the most advance horse and buggy technology to compete with the new-fangled automobile." Here in the heartland, we wonder when Illinois will become the leader in the clean energy revolution, not the eternal springtime of dirty coal machinations.