Archive for Friday, November 2, 2007

Sunflower Electric petitions to overturn KDHE’s decision blocking coal-fired plants

November 2, 2007


— Sunflower Electric Power Corp. filed a petition today seeking to overturn the state's rejection of its permits to build two coal-fired power plants in western Kansas.

Leaders of the Hays-based company said the decision by Kansas Department of Secretary Roderick Bremby was unconstitutional, unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious.

On Oct. 18, Bremby denied permits for the two 700-megawatt plants proposed to be built near Holcomb at a cost of $3.6 billion. Bremby cited concerns with the carbon dioxide emissions that would come from the plants.

In its petition filed with KDHE, Sunflower states Bremby had no right to deny the permits because carbon dioxide emissions are not regulated by the government.

Bremby's order also is invalid because he didn't apply the same restrictions to existing power plants, the company said.

And, Sunflower argued, that the denial order included no evidence "that emissions of carbon dioxide from the proposed power plants will cause a substantial endangerment to the health of persons or to the environment."

A hearings officer will consider the denial and make a recommendation to Bremby who will then decide again on the matter.

The petition for reconsideration of the decision is a required step before the decision can be challenged in court.


Oracle_of_Rhode 10 years, 6 months ago

Shame on Sunflower energy for plotting to to rob our children of a healthy, clean environment in exchange for cheap, dirty energy today. That's short-sighted and immoral.

We simply don't need their Earth-smothering plants here in Kansas. Just imagine if the time, money and influence of these wannabe global warmers was instead directed towards alternatives to dirty coal energy, like wind energy. All Kansans would welcome development of clean and sustainable wind farms that would shine a great light on the state, bring in employers who were interested in sustainability and -- most importantly -- leave our kids a healthier planet.

Thanks to Gov. Sebelius and Sec. Bremby for their outstanding leadership on this issue.

imastinker 10 years, 6 months ago

What nobody seems to notice is that more power plants does not equal more emissions. We decide what emission are at home with our own choices. Power plants just provide the power we consume. It's just like in the car. You have more emission driving at 85 MPH than you do at 45 MPH, because the car is more efficient at 45 than at 85.The engine only puts out the amount of power needed to maintain speed. The more power consumed, the more emissions.

Now, with that said, how many people complaining have big houses or drive big cars? How many people are not using heat pumps or high efficiency furnaces and water heaters? How many people live in old houses with no insulation or old windows?

Conservation starts at home. If you want to make changes, petition legislators to offer tax credits on heat pumps and CFL bulbs and high efficiency furnaces. All this does is limit the power available.

I think many people would be surprised how much some poor people pay for heat in the house. I personally know of a person who paid over $500 to heat his two bedroom trailer each month last winter because he couldn't afford to get insulation or better windows.

fetch 10 years, 6 months ago

Where is Sunflower spokesman Steve Miller?

You know, the chap who said "I personally will make it my crusade to make sure all our western Kansas dollars are diverted as far away from Lawrence as they can be, because they have unfairly stuck their nose in western Kansas' business. ... As hard as it is to create jobs in Kansas, for another Kansas town to come out against us just makes me stutter."

average 10 years, 6 months ago

The problem is, the people who need and will be getting the power (Denver suburbia) aren't being impacted at all by their choice to build slightly cheaper coal plants in Kansas over somewhat more expensive nuclear or renewable in Colorado. They're putting the plant well downwind of themselves. That's a huge problem. 100% externalization of the effects. Unfortunately, some of the Lawrence and Jeffrey emissions are going downwind to others who might not choose them, but a great deal of the negative impact is here.

Personally, our 2-person standalone house consumed 5381 kWh between 24-Sep of last year and 24-Sep of this. Not the greatest (about 600 watts average), but care to compare?

kneejerkreaction 10 years, 6 months ago, here imastinker, but first change all bulbs in your house and business with those little curly flourescent ones.

Tychoman 10 years, 6 months ago

b3 how would two new coal-fired polluting power plants where less than 15% of the electricity is actually going to Kansas going to be good for our children?

Richard Heckler 10 years, 6 months ago

We may not need more plants according to Westar if all would practice conservation and use more energy star rated products.

However america does need to clean up its' act and create new economic growth across western Kansas not just in Holcomb thus wind power.

Wind Vs Coal(single largest air polluter)

Cashing In On Clean Energy = savings & jobs

How Wind Energy Works

Richard Heckler 10 years, 6 months ago

To the editor: You have some misconceptions about wind turbines. I can't argue with your dislike of the appearance of the wind machines, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To me the turbines are beautiful, graceful and a testament to human creativity.

But you're dead wrong about the rest of your objections. I recently stood beside an operating turbine, one of 64 sited on a wind farm near Spearville, Kan. The only noise was a very soft whoosh. My companions and I conversed in normal voice tones.

Although each turbine must sit in the center of eight acres, it actually occupies only a small portion of that space. The remainder of each eight-acre area is planted to farm crops, soybeans in the case of the field where I stood. Not only is the farmer able to continue raising crops on most of his acres, he collects $5,000 a year for every turbine on his land. This dual use of farmland brings additional money into the local economy. Moreover, the wind farm does not use any water, unlike a coal-fired plant. The wind farm also employs a five-person maintenance crew, all of whom live in the community.

Shirley Domer

imastinker 10 years, 6 months ago


about 2/3 of our house is on the little curly flourescent ones now. I am replacing them as they burn out. I have even found ones that have a regular cover for ceilng fans and other attractive ones for use in bathrooms and such. We put a medium efficiency heat pump and AC unit in, which trimmed about $100 per month of peak summer and winter bills. I am replacing the windows in out house curently, and adding insulation in the walls and attic.

Energy conservation is our civic duty, but should not be national policy, with the possible exception of tax credits.

hipper_than_hip 10 years, 6 months ago

The UV from flourescents really fades your colorful stuff, so just be careful where you put them.

imastinker 10 years, 6 months ago

It's ok - colorful stuff is usually out of style within a few years anyway.

ralphralph 10 years, 6 months ago

The curly bulbs have mercury in them. Where does it go when the bulb burns out?

ralphralph 10 years, 6 months ago

P.S. ... The real issue in the proceedings is NOT going to be whether coal plants are good. The issue will be what does the law say. If we want to disallow coal plants, we have to make it the law. Otherwise, we are at the whim of whoever is in political power at the moment. We can't ban coal plants just because it makes us feel good. It has to be legal. The action so Gov Kathy's guy was not legal. I don't like coal plants, but they're going to be building these two when it's all said and done.

feeble 10 years, 6 months ago

The problem is that recent Supreme Court decisions have put a new spin on the issue:

Kansas either allows the plants to go forward, deals with the environmental fallout (while getting less than 15% of the benefit, aka power) and runs the risk of running afoul with future legislation and the EPA (which could result in hefty fines, penalties, etc.)

Or they don't allow the plants to go forward and take a "wait and see" approach to developments in energy policy and pollution policy that unfolding right now.

westernk 10 years, 6 months ago

Why on earth would we want to have coal trucked in and burned in our back yard, so more of our air and water can be ruined, so that some big city hundreds of miles away can have more power??? Plus the price of coal is only going to go up and the federal government will probably start tacking on additional fees to burn coal because of all the climate change legislation that we are hearing about. Then who is going to want a coal plant? Why aren't we pushing for windturbines? Here is a technology that would let us keep our air and water clean, bring money into the local economy and improve the quality of life in western Kansas.

But I guess the fat cat CEO of some power company in Denver won't make millions while the pollution is far from his family. I say call your legislator and tell them we don't need a coal plant!

snowWI 10 years, 6 months ago

b3 (Anonymous) says:

"For our childrens sake I hope that Sunflower Electric succeeds."

You fail at history. The younger people have been leaving western Kansas for generations. The demographic evidence concludes that most rural counties in western Kansas have been retirement communities for years. The younger people move to urban areas where there is a diverse amount of jobs from many fields. The coal plant would only generate jobs in ONE county in western Kansas with less than 130 total jobs. The other rural counties will see NO benefit from coal plants. These plants use outdated pulverized coal technology with no hope to reduce massive amounts of man-made CO2 emissions. I highly doubt that Bremby will change his decision. I unfortunately expect a lengthy court battle. The recent EPA ruling on CO2 definitely works in the favor of Kansans who value cleaner air, water, and lower emissions.

hornhunter 10 years, 6 months ago

snow, you can say something different cant you. What recent EPA ruling on CO2 definitely works in the favor of Kansans who value cleaner air, water, and lower emissions?

KsTwister 10 years, 6 months ago

Ah Geez, How many articles does this make Scott? The fifth or sixth in two days? Are we to conclude that Journalists can't get it right the first time or is it that the media will keep tromping old ground looking for some insight? Try this it has been missing in articles for LJW : "Critics also attacked Sunflower's project because most of the new power would be sold outside Kansas. Hays-based Sunflower supplies six cooperatives providing electricity for about 400,000 people in 55 western Kansas counties.

The 1,400 megawatts of new generating capacity would be enough to meet the peak demands from all the households in Denver, Oklahoma City and Albuquerque, N.M. "

As I said before how can you meet all the requirements when their are no standards(or limits) on the amount of CO2? The plant is definitely not producing just for Kansas needs so assume a high production output. If things in Kansas start dying due to excessive levels I don't think capricious is the word I would use. For health reasons the governor was right in her letter.

snowWI 10 years, 6 months ago

hornhunter (Anonymous) says:

"snow, you can say something different cant you. What recent EPA ruling on CO2 definitely works in the favor of Kansans who value cleaner air, water, and lower emissions?"

It was a Supreme Court decision actually. This was regarding CO2.

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