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On Environmentalists say provision in House-approved farm bill would make it easier to build coal-burning Sunflower plant


Chris Golledge 8 months, 3 weeks ago

The cost of continuing to use fossil carbon as fuel will be larger than the benefit we derive from it. Here is a cost estimate of allowing warming to continue until it causes a release of Arctic methane. This just a piece of the what-it-will-cost-us pie, and it is as large as the entire yearly global GDP. Granted, the cost would be borne over more than one year, but then, it would be thousands of years before conditions improved.


Les Blevins 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Please excuse the typo; That should have read "The sooner we begin doing the latter the quicker and easier it will be to cope with the effects of global warming that coal fired power generation has already locked us into and the quicker we can begin doing what is right by future generations.


Les Blevins 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Building and commissioning more traditional coal fired power plants is one thing - decommissioning and dismantling coal burning power plants is another. The sooner we begin doing the former the quicker and easier it will be to cope with the effects of global warming that coal fired power generation has already locked us into and the quicker we can begin doing what is right by future generations.

The clean-tech innovations that will solve the world’s most urgent environmental problems might come from where we least expect it: by first serving the needs of consumers at the base of the economic pyramid, says Stuart Hart, a professor of management at Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management and chairman of the university’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise.

Mr. Hart suggests that new advances in clean technologies can quickly take hold in developing markets like India and China because large parts of these countries provide a setting of “non-consumption” in which basic needs like energy, transportation, health care and clean water go unmet or are badly served by existing products and services.

Working in such low-income markets can force innovators and entrepreneurs to drive complexity and cost from their products and services, and the business models they create to sell them. Once these new solutions are tested and proven in the poorest communities, the theory goes, many can “trickle up” to the developed world, where features can be added for more affluent markets.

“In fact, the farther down the income pyramid the technology begins, the more upside growth potential exists over the life of the innovation,” Mr. Hart said in a telephone interview. Mr. Hart’s “trickle-up” theory was one of the key topics of the three-day Global Forum on Sustainable Enterprise forum in New York. Since then, he has continued to promote this model of combining economic development with clean-tech innovation – what he calls “The Great Convergence” – in his latest book, the third edition of “Capitalism at the Crossroads: Next Generation Business Strategies for a Post-Crisis World.”

Beyond health care, Mr. Hart sees companies that are gaining traction in industries like small-scale solar energy, LED lighting, and point-of-use water purification. After building strong businesses among the poorest consumers, many of these companies, like India’s Selco Solar are well positioned to move up the economic pyramid.


Richard Heckler 9 months ago

Scientific American

Radioactive Elements in Coal and Fly Ash: Abundance, Forms, and Environmental Significance

Coal is largely composed of organic matter, but it is the inorganic matter in coal—minerals and trace elements— that have been cited as possible causes of health, environmental, and technological problems associated with the use of coal. Some trace elements in coal are naturally radioactive. These radioactive elements include uranium (U), thorium (Th), and their numerous decay products, including radium (Ra) and radon (Rn).

Although these elements are less chemically toxic than other coal constituents such as arsenic, selenium, or mercury, questions have been raised concerning possible risk from radiation. In order to accurately address these questions and to predict the mobility of radioactive elements during the coal fuel-cycle, it is important to determine the concentration, distribution, and form of radioactive elements in coal and fly ash.

Kansas and Lawrence cannot afford more toxic sources of energy. Cancer is not only painful but very very expensive. Westar will not assist in the cost of treatment for cancer.


Brad Greenwood 9 months ago

True, my bad for not reading all the data. That $4.09 was the peak... which increased from about $1.32 when Bush first took office... triple the price! Keep in mind, the President (whether its Bush or Obama) can do very little to control gas prices... that's all the work of the oil speculators... but if you're going to point out the increase under Obama, let's not forget the even bigger increase under Bush.


Clearly4Kansas 9 months ago

Actually, you picked the peak of 2008, it fell quickly- this article from Feb 2012 tracks it accurately...

p>( – The average price for one gallon of unleaded gasoline has increased nearly every month since Barack Obama was inaugurated in January 2009. At that time, when George W. Bush was leaving office, the price was $1.78 per gallon. Today, three years and one month later, the average price is $3.64.

In addition, according to the average price data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices (in nominal dollars: not adjusted for inflation) peaked during Bush’s second term at $4.09 per gallon in July 2008 and then fell to $2.15 in November, when there was an election, and fell further in December 2008 to $1.68


Brad Greenwood 9 months ago

"Gas prices at the pump have doubled from the start of the Obama administration." Really? The average US price per gallon in 2008 was $4.12, today it's $3.62. Did you get your definition of "double" from the really really big book of Koch math?

link -->


Clearly4Kansas 9 months ago

We need to aggressively put new coal fired plants online. Obstacles to oil exploration and refining must be removed immediately. Gas prices at the pump have doubled from the start of the Obama administration. Now the hard left wants to double my utility bills. Next week I find out at work what ObamaCare will do to my employer paid health insurance; I sure hope my share of health insurance costs don't double too. You hard lefties are destroying family budgets. Stop this insanity!!


Patricia Davis 9 months ago

If Colorado needs this, let Colorado build it in Colorado.


Larry Sturm 9 months ago

Not only air pollution but think about the amount of water it will use taking away from household use and irrigation.


Richard Heckler 9 months ago

Lots of jobs and new industry come with cleaner energy sources. Which from an environmentalist point of view is far more fiscal responsible.

Renewable energy is reliable, affordable, and beneficial for our health, our economy, and our environment. By increasing renewable energy, we can:

Reduce air pollution / Cut global warming emissions / Create new jobs and industries / Diversify our power supply / Decrease dependence on coal and other fossil fuels / Move America toward a cleaner, healthier energy future /

Merrill and Union of Concerned Scientists supports practical, cost-effective policies that promote renewable energy and lower barriers to its adoption. These include strong renewable electricity standards, financial incentives like clean energy tax credits, and investment in a smarter electrical grid.

The USA needs cleaner energy sources. Wind Power / Solar Power / Biomass / Geothermal Energy / Hydroelectric Power / Hydrokinetic Energy /


Scut Farkus 9 months ago

This is a mutated version of a bill recently passed by the US Senate. The House version also eliminates food stamp benefits. The vote was 216-208 and no Democrat voted for it. Twelve Republicans opposed the bill. This will not pass the Senate and the White House has already stated they would veto this Republican version.


blindrabbit 9 months ago

Curahee: Did you consider how few jobs this plant would create once it is constructed and operational?? Or what about increases in airborne SOx, NOx, Particulates and Mercury, not to mention the waste disposal (although the fracking folks are using the fly ash now). But the real problem for placement in the Western Kansas (near desert) is the demand coal fired steam plants (and this a steam plant) have for cooling water for the condensers. What is the source for such water, the perpetually dry Arkansas River, no, it is the underground aquifer. The aquifer is being rapidly depleted by farm utilization, especially now with more center pivots and gravity flow irrigation being installed needed to grow crops such as corn and cotton


Ken Schmidt 9 months ago

Equally as curious was the push to have this permit issued before environmental statutes were placed. According to the Bird Conservation Network, "at least 100,000,000 birds" are killed by windows in items such as homes or cars each year; a number far exceeding those found killed by turbines (even if the two numbers were statistically normalized). Using your logic, should we therefore choose to stop building houses with windows or cars with windshields. I will not begin to refute your argument regarding "internal parts" as you obviously have little knowledge regarding what those "parts" might be. As far as solar plants and night, again, you are improperly read. Newer solar plant design, as described by the government's National Renewable Energy Laboratory and in service for the Sevilla region of Spain, have the ability to transfer energy to superheat a salt composition and continue energy production throughout the night.

Your point regarding jobs and the benefits of driving interstate commerce has tangible validity, it would also be wise to consider the environmental impacts of such a project before merely throwing caution to the, "wind." There was a reason that the environmental standards were agreed upon by a bipartisan group of legislators. Big business does not have your best interests in mind and will not study the impact of your well-being if not forced to do so.


KidKansas 9 months ago

Regardless of one's position on building new coal power plants, it does not seem unreasonable to require an environmental assessment before committing to construction. Kansas residents deserve to know the impact that a new plant will have on their health and environment. It is inappropriate for congress to supersede the Federal Court's ruling by hiding such a provision in the farm bill. Are Kansas representatives working their citizens or for Sunflower Electric Power Corp?


Currahee 9 months ago

I actually want this plant to be built. Jobs will always be a war between the environmentalists and business people but the fact is that high paying service jobs are few and far between in rural areas that need to thrive on industry. If money is coming from other states who are willing to pay for electricity, why shouldn't we allow it? It's not like it's going to leave a toxic disaster area in 5 years. This will also satisfy incresing electrical demand for years to come. The environmentalists don't want dino plants, but solar and wind is as equally unviable. Wind kills countless birds and becomes dangerous if an internal part breaks. Solar doesn't work at night.


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