Archive for Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Moratorium sought on coal-fired plants

January 23, 2007

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— A state legislator has filed a measure to place a two-year moratorium on the building of coal-fired electric plants in Kansas.

Rep. Vaughn Flora, D-Topeka, said he was concerned about the environmental impact of three proposed 700-megawatt plants in western Kansas.

"Many constituents and people throughout the state have contacted me with questions about these plants," Flora said.

Under a proposal by Sunflower Electric Power Corp., three plants would be built beside an existing 360-megawatt plant near Holcomb.

Two of the three plants will be used to produce power for sale in Colorado.

The plants would also require water from the Ogallala Aquifer.

Flora said he is concerned "that we are using Kansas water for Colorado electricity and that prevailing winds could blow emissions northeast to Topeka."

During the proposed moratorium, Flora said he wanted the Legislative Division of Post Audit to conduct a study on the health effects of emissions from coal-fired plants and the proposed depletion of groundwater.

Sunflower Electric has stated that the plants would be much cleaner than existing coal-burning facilities.

"The design of these new plants will feature the latest environmental technologies, which will make them among the cleanest in the nation," Earl Watkins, Sunflower president and chief executive officer, has stated.

Watkins also has noted that Sunflower's proposal to use 29,000 acre feet of water annually for all four plants is a fraction of the 2.1 million acre feet currently pumped from the aquifer, mostly for agricultural irrigation.

Sunflower officials also say the project will boost the regional economy and provide needed electricity.

A decision on whether to allow construction of the plants is pending with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Eight states, the city of Lawrence and numerous environmental groups have opposed the proposal, saying the carbon dioxide emissions from the plant will be a major contributor to climate change.

Comments

Janet Lowther 8 years, 2 months ago

Actually the matter of water rights is probably a better handle to control or prevent the construction of these plants.

Water is a rare and precious commodity in western Kansas.

It should be noted that wells into the Ogallala aquifer are the only water wells the IRS allows owners to take a depletion allowance on 'cause the aquifer recharges very slowly, if at all.

windy 8 years, 2 months ago

Water, water, water, now this is the major concern?

They will use less with the new plants, then the farmers do now.

And what is the difference if Sunflower uses the water for power production that will be exported form the state, then beef, cattle, grain or any other product made in Ks.,that uses large amount of H2O, then exported to other states or countries????? Nothing! What about all of the Ethanol production that has or will be coming on line in the near future? They do use corn which takes large amounts of H2O, no body is stopping them.

Maybe they should pass laws making illegal to wash your cars also. All the greenies can't then,wash this BS off their hands, because we don't have enough water.

snowWI 8 years, 2 months ago

windy, Kansas needs more energy efficiency programs. This would have the potential to slow down the growth of electricity in the region that the utility serves. Exporting things out of the state is fine. However, exporting dirty electricity generated by coal to other states is not a good thing at all. The proposed plants will still be the largest new source of CO2 emissions in the entire country. The coal plants are still using outdated pulverized coal technology that will quickly be obsolete.

budwhysir 8 years, 2 months ago

What a switch up. Lets turn from wind to water issues in order to cover this up and get it passed.

I think I was the only one worried about this current affair at hand. So whats next, an excise tax on ground water to study the effects of wind on water.

snowWI 8 years, 2 months ago

budwhysir, From personal experience, this part of Kansas is extremely dry. The average annual precipitation in this area is around 15 inches. Some years even less precipitation than that falls. The ONLY way corn is grown in this area is by using massive center pivot irrigation systems. This has depleted the aquifer in some areas. I believe the town of Ulysses has to import their water supply because many of the wells have gone completely dry. You have to remember this area IS NOT THE MIDWEST. This is the high plains region at around 3000ft elevation with a semi-arid climate.

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