SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (July 10)—Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. said in a news release it had "very open discussions" with high Illinois elected officials over the planned closing of its Decatur, Ill., tire manufacturing facility. Nevertheless, the firm stressed that "in order to ensure our company's future financial viability, it is clear that one of our plants must be closed." Decatur's age, size and product line make it the most likely candidate for closure, according to the release. Officials meeting with Bridgestone/Firestone CEO John T. Lampe in Springfield included Illinois Gov. George Ryan; U.S. Sen. Richard J. Durbin; U.S. Reps. David Phelps, Ray LaHood, Timothy Johnson, Lane Evans and John Shimkus; State Sen. Duane Noland; State Reps. Julie Curry and Bill Mitchell; and Decatur Mayor Terry Howley. Spokespeople for Ryan and Durbin could not be reached for comment, but before the meeting a spokesman for Ryan told Reuters that the mood wasn't optimistic. "We certainly will discuss whether anything can be done at the state or congressional level to get them to stay, but our hopes are not high on that," he said.