Archive for Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sebelius wants extensive look at energy policy

December 22, 2007


— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Friday said she supports increasing the cigarette tax, wants to start a comprehensive discussion on energy and is alarmed by the harsh tone of the debate on illegal immigration.

Sebelius' comments were made during an interview with the Lawrence Journal-World as she prepared for the Jan. 14 startup of the 2008 legislative session.

In her second term, Sebelius, a Democrat, has become accustomed to working with a Republican-dominated Legislature. But recent events may make that job more difficult.

In October, her administration rejected permits for two coal-fired electric power plants in western Kansas, citing concerns about carbon dioxide emissions and global warming.

The decision angered GOP legislative leaders from the region, who have vowed to try to reverse the action.

"I think it adds an additional dynamic. No question about it," Sebelius said.

But the governor said she will try to start "a comprehensive conversation about climate change strategies."

With looming federal taxes or regulations on carbon dioxide emissions expected, Kansas needs to focus more on renewable energy, conservation and efficiency standards, she said.

"We have an incredible asset in wind that many states don't have," Sebelius said.

Taxing smoking

On health care reform, Sebelius embraced recommendations of the Kansas Health Policy Authority, which included a 50-cent per pack increase in the state cigarette tax and a statewide ban on smoking in indoor public areas.

The increase in the cigarette tax would help pay for health care costs, much of which are caused by cigarette smoking, she said.

And she said making cigarettes more expensive will cut down on the number of teenagers who take up the habit.

"All the ads in the world don't have nearly the impact as raising the cigarette tax," she said.

She also urged the Legislature to consider all the health care recommendations as a package. The proposal also includes increased funding to provide insurance for low-income Kansans, promotion of healthy foods and physical activity in school, and aggressive enrollment of eligible children in Medicaid.

"Kind of cherry-picking and choosing one strategy versus another is not nearly as effective as moving the package forward," she said.

Immigration debate

Some legislators have vowed to push legislation aimed at reducing the number of illegal immigrants in Kansas, including repeal of a law that allows some children of illegal immigrants to attend a state higher education institution at the lower in-state tuition rate. Sebelius signed that bill into law in 2004.

But Sebelius said she was troubled by the divisiveness of the debate about immigration, and she blamed the federal government for failing to provide reform.

"The wall is not realistic," she said referring to plans to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. "Mexico is our No.1 trading partner. We can't wall in or out this country."

She said many illegal immigrant families have been here for generations and represent an important part of the work force.

Some Kansas businesses are in desperate need of workers, Sebelius said.

"If you were to strip a lot of workers out of the work force here, we'd be in real trouble," she said.

Morrison scandal

Another incident that will heighten the political tension of the upcoming session is the scandal surrounding state Attorney General Paul Morrison.

Last week, Morrison, a Democrat, announced he would resign from office after admitting to having a two-year extramarital affair with a woman who was a subordinate when he was Johnson County district attorney. Morrison, however, has denied allegations made by Linda Carter that he sexually harassed her and tried to get information from her about an investigation by current Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline. Morrison faces several investigations.

Sebelius said she hopes to have a replacement picked by Morrison's resignation date of Jan. 31.

But, she added: "I don't want to play beat the clock. It really is finding the right person and making sure that they're ready to lead this important agency."


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 6 months ago

"Lawrencians who are genuinely concerned about C02 and other coal pollution should oppose the renewal of the Clean Air Permits for the Jefferies and Lawrence power plants next year. These plants should be shuttered."

But they won't be shuttered without a comprehensive plan that would replace the energy they produce, and/or create efficiencies that would decrease the amount of power required. Your continual whining about stopping the stupidity of building new plants in Holcomb will not accomplish that.

lounger 10 years, 6 months ago

At least this governor is talking about climate change...

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 6 months ago

In the absence of a comprehensive plan, your little pipe dream will never happen, warmer. And since any such plan will never come from me and me alone, your complaints about my not proposing one on this forum really does constitute nothing but vacuous whining.

tribalzendancer 10 years, 6 months ago

To get people started on this conversation I recommend people check out these videos online related to city sustainability, energy, and far-sighted solutions:

City Solutions:


Peak Oil:

KS 10 years, 6 months ago

I think she is being dishonest with herself when she talks about not having workers w/o illegal immigrants. Americans will do the same job, they just wnat more money. If you break the law, I see no reason why you or your family should be rewarded. What is it about "illegal" do these folks not understand?

classclown 10 years, 6 months ago

She said many illegal immigrant families have been here for generations and represent an important part of the work force.


That sentence makes no sense. If a family has lived here for generations, then that would mean they were born here and are in fact Americans. The issue is not with hispanic Americans, but with those that come here illegally.

Is she equating hispanic people with illegal immigrants?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 6 months ago

You have no idea what I've done or not done with regard to being "proactive," warmer. All you know is that I've described your silly little campaign of whining over Holcomb for exactly what it is, and your response is a pitiful attempt at a personal attack against your fellow anonymous poster, about whom you know nothing.

Amy Bartle 10 years, 6 months ago

Class Clown - here are some stats on immigrants, that make for compelling reasons to ease restrictions. During the 1990s, half of all new workers were foreign-born, filling gaps in both the high- and low-skill ends of the spectrum. Immigrants fill jobs in key sectors, start their own businesses, and contribute to the economy. The net benefit of immigration to the U.S. is $10 billion annually. 70% of immigrants arrive in prime working age. That means we haven't spent a penny on their education, yet they are transplanted into our workforce and will contribute $500 billion toward our social security system over the next 20 years. Source - Immigrant Workers in the New England Labor Market: Implications for Workforce Development Policy - Boston Mass.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 6 months ago

"Been reading your posts for some time Dear Bozo, I know quite enough."

Enough for what?

"I look forward to your support when the renewal of the Clean Air Permits is discussed."

I hope they do get the permits denied. Not that that will actually result in the plants getting closed down in the next 5-10 years. But it might be effective as political theater.

63BC 10 years, 6 months ago

Is anyone else troubled at the prospect of the Attorney General owing their job exclusively to the good graces of the Governor?

Take out the parties and personalities. Doesn't that contravene the state's constitutional design?

Why not have the Governor appoint and the Legislature confirm a place-holder and then have a special election in 2008 instead?

ASBESTOS 10 years, 5 months ago

Just read the KDHE permit denial report.

Interesting stuff about lead.

COnsidering it was one of the "regulated" HAPs that KDHE was so concerned with it seems downright illegal then with the Lead releases at the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant. The releases there are 2000 times higher than that which KDHE denies a power plant, however, a KDHE supervised cleanup and TRANSFER of lead contaminated property is OK by them.

Very interesting.

ASBESTOS 10 years, 5 months ago

Oh, year the levels at the SFAAP weree determined using a blimp 1000 feet in the air, and a mile away from the "burn sites" they were investigating. The samplers were 37mm cassettes with a 1.7 LPM flow rate for only 70 some minutes. They only took a couple of sample of 3 burns to represent all the 1496 buildings burnt, ALL COATED WITH ASBESTOS AND LEAD BASED PAINT.

At this level of inadequate air sampling they still got 60 micrograms per cubic meter in their samples..... a MILE AWAY and at 1000 feet elevation!!!!!!!

NOW ironically, the lead actually falls out as larger particles according to the EPA DC HQ lead Air Quality guy, usually 10 micrometers in diameter. So it would be closer to the source.

The KDHE permit denial stated that lead comes out as small particulates smaller than 10 micrometers and cannot be trapped by the filters. SO it travels far from the source.

Now in both cases the lead is "burned" in the powerplant, a controled burn, and at the SFAAP there were 80% "Detonations". So the lead has more thermal and physical force exerted on it with high event impluses.


So KDHE is now changing the pollution fallout physics for what means?

I have all along stated that the SFAAP was a corrupt deal brokered by a dishonest and incompetent agency. NOW WE KNOW!

I am betting this info will make it to the Sunflower Energy CO. Funny how "sunflowers" have so much prominence in this story!

ASBESTOS 10 years, 5 months ago

Which one is KDHE "correct" on? They both cannot be happening.

Either this permit is OK, and SFAAP is NOT, or SFAAP is OK and the Permit needed to be approved.

ASBESTOS 10 years, 5 months ago

This is the problem at the "Environmental Governmental Agencies". We have laws that need to be "enforced" but the agencies ignore these LAWS, in order to pursue "initiatives" and "programs" dreamed up by the agency and not legislatively authorized.

The asbestos and lead are all pushed to the back (both with existing laws that are "will of the people") for initiatives suchas the "Green Building", (which most ignore the asbeestos and lead rules) and GHG, which also rob from the enforcement and LAWS that have direct and know effects on humans.

This is why we need the legislature involved and making policy, not bureaucrats.

ASBESTOS 10 years, 5 months ago

KDHE ignored lead and asbestos problems at SFAAP,

KDHE ignores existing law on a permit denial.

Both of these are political in nature and have NOTHING to do with law or scientific fact.

The facts are on my side. My side is against KDHE.

There needs to be mass firings in the Air section, and Bremby needs to resign or be fired.

Both the SFAAP and the Sunflower PowerPlant permit denial are bron the Guvs office.

She just showed she is not Green.

She is actually "anti environmental"!!!

ASBESTOS 10 years, 5 months ago

Here is the AG opinion from the "resigning" AG. Was this political as well and suspect. September was when this tryst ended.

No, beobachter, I am trying to wake people up to environmental problems that KDHE is ignoring. What do you want to do, wait until there is a cancer cluster or a lead posioning cluster in the Desoto area before we do something.

I am pointing out the total inconsistency ow KDHE policy.

I will send you a crayon drawing later so you can understand.

You are not much of an Environmental Scientist.

The lead and asbestos release at the SFAAP from 1496 buildings "Detonating" while they were being burned is HUGE, and KDHE covered it up.

That is why people need to be fired.

And you need to grow a brain.

ASBESTOS 10 years, 5 months ago

No "name calling" here, just observation. Here is something from the AG decision:

"Based upon the plain language of K.S.A. 65-3012, it appears that the statute contemplates preventive as well as remedial actions on the part of the secretary in order to protect persons and the environment in situations where the secretary receives information that emission of air pollution presents substantial endangerment to either. "Air pollution" is broadly defined as the "presence in the outdoor atmosphere of one or more air contaminants in such quantities and duration as is, or tends significantly to be, injurious to human health or welfare, animal or plant life, or property, or would unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of life or property, or would contribute to the formation of regional haze."(3) An "air contaminant" is "dust, fumes, smoke, other particulate matter, vapor, gas, odorous substances, or any combination thereof, but not including water vapor or steam condensate."(4) Thus, as K.S.A. 65-3012 does not condition the secretary's action upon pollutant levels, the secretary is not obligated to wait until there are federal or state regulations establishing limitations on a particular pollutant before taking action to prevent air pollution provided he makes the findings required in subsection (a)."

IT MAKES FARMING ILLEGAL!!! A FARMER cannot disc and have dust coming from his field, AND he cannot "burn off" the vegetative matter in the fall and spring, because it puts "pollutants" into the air!

I think I will email this to the Sunflower Corp. Immediately!!!!!

I am sure they will want to take on this AG opinion as flawed as it is.

ASBESTOS 10 years, 5 months ago

That would be

"...upon such action being arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable."

Seems as if the Secretary of KDHE is DONE FOR and GOOD RIDDANCE!!!!!

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