EPA has given the first-ever permits for underground injection of carbon dioxide to FutureGen Industrial Alliance, which plans to develop a near-zero-emissions, coal-fired power plant near Jacksonville, Ill. FutureGen intends to store CO2, a greenhouse gas, after capturing it from the plant. EPA’s approval marks the first time the agency has issued permits for carbon sequestration. FutureGen, an alliance of coal mining and electric power companies, will build the $1.65 billion facility with $1 billion in financial support from the Department of Energy. “FutureGen’s goal is to capture and inject 1.1 million metric tons of CO2 each year for 20 years,” EPA says. The project will retrofit an existing power plant, capture the CO2, and pump it underground through four wells for long-term storage. The permits mean that FutureGen may begin drilling the wells as soon as next month. FutureGen must demonstrate the integrity of the wells before injecting CO2 and conduct extensive monitoring, EPA says. Commercial operations are scheduled to begin in 2017.