NewEnergyNews: KANSAS REJECTS EMISSIONS

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  • Thursday, October 25, 2007

    KANSAS REJECTS EMISSIONS

    Kansas’ Governor Sebelius now joins the ranks of real leaders who see the future and know what people want is to cut back on dirty energy and create New Energy.

    When Governor Sebelius said her administration would be moral stewards of her state’s air, the coal company spokesman said, "That implies that we're not moral stewards of the land, which we don't appreciate one bit…" Of course he doesn’t appreciate it. The truth hurts.

    Republicans argued the state needed the energy and the plants would create jobs, tax revenues and new transmission. Opponents pointed out that New Energy development would do the same without violating the Clean Air Act.

    Interesting sidelight: The project began losing support when one of the developers, based in Colorado, reduced its commitment because Colorado passed a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) and the developer needed to invest in renewable sources.


    Power Plant Rejected Over Carbon Dioxide For First Time
    Steven Mufson, October 19, 2007 (Washinton Post)

    WHO
    The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (DHE) (Roderick L. Bremby, secretary); Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius; Sunflower Electric Power (Steve Miller, spokesman), Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association (Lee Boughey, spokesman)

    Holcmb is in the heart of the heartland. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    In a decision widely seen as an environmental victory, Kansas’ DHE cited carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as the grounds for rejecting the application of Sunflower and Tri-State for a pair of 700-megawatt coal-fired plants.

    WHEN
    - This is the 1st time a US government agency has rejected an application for an electricity generating plant for this reason.
    - It may also be the 1st in a series of decisions by statements in consideration of the April Supreme Court decision finding GHG emissions to be a violation of the Clean Air Act.

    WHERE
    - The coal plants would have been built in the western Kansas town of Holcomb. One would supply parts of Kansas. The other would supply eastern Colorado.
    - Holcomb was described by Truman Capote’s "In Cold Blood" as a place that stood "on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call 'out there.' "
    - Recently, Holcomb residents have been deriving income from wind energy developers leasing land for a wind farm.

    WHY
    - Sunflower and Tri-State are rural electrical cooperatives.
    - The proposed plants would have cost about $3.6 billion to build.
    - By standing up against Republican Kansas and national forces in favor of the plant, Governor Sebelius, who is thought to have national political ambitions, thrust the plant into political controversy and won plaudits from environmentalists and some labor groups. Bremby is the governor’s ally.
    - Kansas Republican state legislators are split on the decision. 46 approved a letter fearmongering about the need for energy while 31, presumably thinking about stewardship, did not.
    - Governor Sebelius’ arguments are drawing support from Kansas’ urban centers like Topeka and Kansas City.

    Holcomb has above average sun and above average wind. If it's looking for energy, jobs and economic opportunity, it doesn't have to look any farther than its own backyard. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Bremby, for Kansas DHE: "…it would be irresponsible to ignore emerging information about the contribution of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to climate change and the potential harm to our environment and health if we do nothing."
    - Bruce Nilles, Sierra Club: "Now the Sebelius administration rockets to the forefront of the states [working] to solve the global warming crisis…"
    - Governor Sebelius: "The question of where we get our energy is . . . no longer just an economic issue, nor solely an issue of national security. Quite simply, we have a moral obligation to be good stewards of this state."
    - Steve Miller, Sunflower Electric: “[The decision] has no basis in law or regulation…We still believe fiercely that this is the right project, that this is the right thing to do for customers and that the secretary has made a horrible error."

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