Archive for Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Sierra Club files power plant suit

April 3, 2007

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An environmental group Monday filed a lawsuit against the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, demanding that the department have a formal hearing on a controversial coal-fired power plant near Holcomb.

The Sierra Club, which filed the suit in Shawnee County District Court, said it asked for a "quasi-judicial hearing" in February so it could challenge parts of Sunflower Electric Power Corp.'s application for a permit to add three 700-megawatt units to its existing 350-megawatt plant.

It says that request was denied in a March 2 letter from the department.

Hays-based Sunflower Electric wants the department to declare that the project would meet all applicable standards for controlling air pollution. KDHE still is reviewing hundreds of pages of comments about the project, spokesman Joe Blubaugh said.

He said the department's legal staff wasn't available to comment on the lawsuit.

Sierra Club members claim the plant will worsen air pollution in the region while the company plans to sell the majority of the plant's generated energy to utilities outside the state.

In December, attorneys general in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin wrote a letter to state officials saying Sunflower's project would undermine their states' efforts to control emissions of greenhouse gases.

Nick Persampieri, an attorney representing the Sierra Club on behalf of Washington-based Earthjustice, said the department had a series of public hearings on the Sunflower plant but they were aimed at gathering comments, not debating facts in the application.

The Lawrence City Commission voted 3-2 in November to submit a formal comment letter to KDHE opposing the issuance of permits for the plant.

Comments

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 years, 11 months ago

The pollution that we put out is not a little boy peeing into the ocean, it's more like everyone in the world peeing into the ocean everyday. Bad analogy.

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 12 months ago

Am I the only one frightened by the Sierra Club, ELF, Earth Front, the National Resources Defense Council, Earth Justice and other radical groups?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 12 months ago

I'm more frightened by your ignorance of the fact that these groups are not at all the same, and your apparent belief that protecting the environment is somehow "radical."

snowWI 7 years, 12 months ago

The proposed power plants will only subsidize more suburban sprawl on the Colorado Front Range. Kansas will get less than 10% of the total electricity produced from the proposed plants. The tri-state electric cooperative is undermining the ability of Kansas to move forward with renewable energy technologies like other states in our region. More wind farms will likely be built in southwest Kansas in the coming years because another utility, KCP&L, reached an agreement with the Sierra Club saying that they will have a more diversified energy portfolio.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 12 months ago

"Just a bunch of mellow hippies, right?"

So what does the ELF have to do with the Sierra Club, or the substance of this article?

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 12 months ago

The Clear Skies Act of 2003 and the Healthy Forests Act of 2003 lend far better insights into the reasonable environmental measures we should consider as compared to the ideas proposed by the above-mentioned environmental radicals.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 12 months ago

"The Clear Skies Act of 2003 and the Healthy Forests Act of 2003"

Two of the clearest examples of Newspeak of recent years.

Janet Lowther 7 years, 12 months ago

If you really want to scuttle this deal, go after the water these plants need: It takes a LOT of water to run power plants this big: Vast quantities for the cooling towers to condense the steam, and then a bit more water for the make up water for the boilers, damping down the coal piles to keep it from blowing &c.

KDHE has the problem that if plants meet the current standards, they HAVE to approve them. There really isn't much room for them to exercise discretion. If politics were to intervene at KDHE and cause them to deny the air permit, they would be sued and they would lose.

There is a lot more wiggle room when it comes to granting or denying the water rights they need.

snowWI 7 years, 12 months ago

jrlii, We definitely do not need power plants in the semi-arid grassland of Kansas when we would only use 10% of the electricity. Colorado gets cheap electricity while we get the consequences of coal power plants that still produce massive quanities of CO2 and mercury. Water rights may be at stake in the area. The proposed plants would still produce 14 million tons of carbon dioxide a year which would be the largest new source of CO2 in the ENTIRE COUNTRY. Its no wonder that Kansas is looked down upon by other states who are actually trying to implement more renewable energy sources, and energy efficiency programs.

snowWI 7 years, 11 months ago

Wind generated electricity offers more economic benefits to communities than oil or coal power plants. http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy06osti/37720.pdf

gr 7 years, 11 months ago

"We definitely do not need power plants in the semi-arid grassland of Kansas when we would only use 10% of the electricity. "

Sounds selfish. Don't do anything if we don't benefit. Would you rather have a coal plant in West Lawrence? Putting coal plants in unpopulated areas sound like a good thing to me.

"Colorado gets cheap electricity while we get the consequences of coal power plants that still produce massive quanities of CO2 and mercury. "

And we get the taxes and other benefits. Isn't that why they want casinos in Kansas?

"Water rights may be at stake in the area." One valid point you have.

"The proposed plants would still produce 14 million tons of carbon dioxide a year which would be the largest new source of CO2 in the ENTIRE COUNTRY. "

So?

Is that relevant? I've seen no one to show significance of total CO2 in the environment relating to total produced by humans.

If everyone pees in the ocean, it may not be a good thing, but it's not going to raise the ocean temperature.

Instead of worrying about something that is natural and good, a more relevant concern is the toxic compounds produced such as mercury or other heavy metals. Though some would argue mercury is good for you.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 11 months ago

"So?

Is that relevant? I've seen no one to show significance of total CO2 in the environment relating to total produced by humans."

Still clinging desperately to your willful ignorance, I see.

I hear the world's flat, too.

gr 7 years, 11 months ago

And bozo has nothing to offer in support of his views. But what do you expect from a flat-earther.

snowWI 7 years, 11 months ago

gr, Kansas should be investing in renewable energy sources like wind energy. Building pulverized coal plants when they will immediately become outdated is not a good idea. The proposed plants would have not technologies available to control carbon dioxide emissions, which are a greenhouse gas. Wind energy does not produce mercury, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. With the Democrats now in control of Congress the potential for more regulation regarding carbon dioxide looks much stronger. Kansas will always be backwards to new ideas in energy, even when their are many rural counties in the state that could really benefit from wind energy. Try this article on for size: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070403/ap_on_go _su_co/scotus_greenhouse_gases

gr 7 years, 11 months ago

"Kansas should be investing in renewable energy sources like wind energy."

Snow, that is not the debate.

The debate is whether humans is causing global warming and if changing carbon dioxide production would have any effect.

While I've seen several articles showing that the CO2 produced by humans is miniscule compared to the total in the environment, I have yet to find any articles showing what we produce is significant. I'm sure some bozo will say I'm ignoring the "facts", but wouldn't it be easy to present those "facts"? The reason he doesn't is because there are none. Plenty of emotion, though. Quoting someone as saying "very likely" is not a fact.

I'm all for reduction in pollution. But, just because a supreme court votes that CO2 is "pollution", does not make it so. CO2 is a natural, normal, and necessary molecule in the environment. Just as well say Oxygen is a dangerous pollutant - it burns things and is hazardous to life, you know.

Just because Gore gets some benefit off his "carbon credits" doesn't mean everyone should fall for such nonsense. I had already come up with this, but found out others have too. Most Americans are FAT! Moving all that weight around in cars costs fuel efficiency, resulting in these supposed "pollutants". Therefore, just as well have a FAT tax. Or FAT credits. Then one could be like Gore: I'm still fat, but I buy fat-credits to offset my fatness. Now I can continue being fat without worrying about it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 11 months ago

"The debate is whether humans is causing global warming and if changing carbon dioxide production would have any effect."

No, there is no debate at all. It is unclear exactly how severe global warming will be, and exactly how much CO2 emissions need to be reduced, but it is almost unanimous among climate scientists that dramatic decreases need to be made within the next 5-10 years.

gr 7 years, 11 months ago

"almost unanimous"

Smirk

And, it's obvious you don't understand it but merely repeating alarmism. Otherwise you would present the facts to show how much we produce in relation to the total in the atmosphere.

How severe global warming will be? Well, it'll be dramatic if it's anything like it's been the last several thousand years. Average temperatures have skyrocketed way above freezing temperatures. Glaciers have melted from Kansas, drastically changing it's environment! New animal and plant species have moved in. Life is thriving! And, you know what. It still thrives all the way to the equator.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 11 months ago

You don't want facts-- you just want confirmation of your faith-based view of the world.

Sorry, the facts and science don't work that way, gr.

snowWI 7 years, 11 months ago

Yes, their is naturally occuring CO2 that already exists in the atmopshere. However, their is an observation that has been measuring CO2 levels in the atmosphere that is located in Hawaii. This station has showed an exponential rise in CO2 concentrations in the past 50 years. Humans likely have made some contributions to escalating rise in CO2 concentrations because the exponential rise is unusual for such a short period of time. Kansas needs: Adequate transmission lines, more wind farms, pollution upgrades on existing power plants, and a more diverse energy portfolio. Unfortunately, their are some power plants that have been in operation more than 50 years that really do need to be decomissioned. The Tri State Electric Cooperative is putting Kansas at a disadvantage for renewable energy technologies because the proposed power plants would make up a large share of the power grid. States like Iowa, Texas, and Minnesota are still rapidly building large-scale wind farms and turning away from coal plants.

gr 7 years, 11 months ago

Hawaii station shows sudden rise in CO2 in 50 years. Therefore we "conclude" humans "likely" have caused it? At least you qualified it with "some".

Then you take off on power needs and suggestions which have nothing to do with global warming.

I'll use your same logic. See if you see the nonsense of it:

The ocean temperature has risen in recent years. Little Johnny pees in the ocean. Little Johnny's pee is warm. Therefore, little Johnny is contributing to warming ocean temperature.
(You would agree that pee warmer than the ocean is "contributing", no?) Whether little Johnny peeing in the ocean is a good thing or not, other than warming the ocean, is no longer the question, but little Johnny is now the cause of warming oceans and therefore must be penalized. Of course, if he's rich, he could purchase pee credits, then there would be nothing wrong with continuing it.

gr 7 years, 11 months ago

It depends upon whether we are talking about pollution or if we are talking about global warming. I differed between the two in my analogy, if you noticed.

If you have also noticed, I am for reducing pollution. However, your presented position would not support reduced pollution. If global warming was determined to be global cooling and/or nothing to do with what little Johnny does, then you would have nothing to support reduced pollution. Why not say, it is highly unlikely little Johnny peeing in the sky is doing nothing with global warming. However, we should still stop polluting our environment with toxic chemicals, mercury, sulfur compounds, etc., etc. (and carbon dioxide, oxygen, water vapor are not pollutants), find better sources of power, less dependence on foreign supplies.

snowWI 7 years, 11 months ago

I wonder what the updates are regarding the decision the KDHE will make on the project, and the outcome of the lawsuit. The tri-state electric cooperative is hurting the ability of the sate to become a leader in wind energy. These tri-state cooperatives should not exist, and it should be the responsibility of individual states to decide what types of energy sources should be used to produce electricity. Their is no reason why over 90% of the electricity generated at the proposed plants should go to other states when our wind energy resources have not been properly developed. The KCP&L utility has been required to implement modern pollution control devices on the coal plants in Iatan and LaCygne Kansas. Westar, on the other hand, has extremely outdated coal plants from the 1950s in Shawnee and Douglas counties. These plants are obviously not going to be very clean compared to the upgrades that are being made by the other utility. At what point will these very old and outdated plants be decomissioned? The Jaffrey Energy Center is also ranked as one of the dirtiest power plants in the entire country.

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