Archive for Tuesday, October 9, 2007

KDHE staff supports coal plant project in western Kansas

Secretary says he hasn’t made up his mind

October 9, 2007

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The staff of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has recommended approval of two 700-megawatt coal-fired electric plants in western Kansas, officials said today.

But KDHE Secretary Roderick Bremby said he has yet to make a decision on the issue.

And Bremby declined today to say whether he would consider the effects of carbon dioxide emissions in his decision-making process. CO2 emissions are blamed for global warming.

The information came up during an unprecedented legislative probe into KDHE's review of permit applications from Sunflower Electric Power Corp. for the project near Holcomb.

During the meeting, lawmakers on the newly appointed Electric Generation Review Panel leaned on Bremby to approve the permits.

House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, said rejection of the project would wreck the western Kansas economy.

State Rep. Carl Holmes, R-Liberal, and chairman of the committee, criticized KDHE for taking 15 months to make a decision.

But Bremby responded, "There has been no delay."

He said that under state law the agency has until Dec. 1 to issue a ruling, but that it will announce a decision later this month.

He said KDHE has been diligent in working on the case, knowing that whatever decision is made probably will be attacked in court.

While the staff has recommended approval, Bremby said that recommendation first will be considered by Ron Hammerschmidt, director of the division of environment. Bremby then will review it before a final ruling is made.

While many legislators have voiced support of the project, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has criticized it. And numerous environmental groups oppose it, saying emissions from the proposed plants will harm the environment and Kansans' health.

Bremby has said he will make an independent decision on the matter and Sebelius has denied trying to exert any influence on the case.

Comments

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 9 months ago

While many legislators have voiced support of the project, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has criticized it. And numerous environmental groups oppose it, saying emissions from the proposed plants will harm the environment and Kansans' health.


Not if there's a stiff enough westward wind to blow all the emmissions into Denver. Denverites will never notice a little more pollution.

snowWI 7 years, 9 months ago

Kansas. A state that is easily taken advantage of by a LACK of strict environmental regulations. They want to build the plant in Kansas because the tougher regulations in Colorado would not allow a plant of this MAGNITUDE to be built there. This state will always be backwards, and will be left behind in the renewable energy field by more progressive states.

Oracle_of_Rhode 7 years, 9 months ago

Goodbye "Land of Ahs," hello "Land of wheeziness and asthmatic coughing."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 9 months ago

"Land of wheeziness and asthmatic coughing."

And very likely a return of the "Dust Bowl" days, too.

LogicMan 7 years, 9 months ago

And hopefully getting a lot of extra transmission line capacity, and access, for wind turbines?

dirkleisure 7 years, 9 months ago

"And hopefully getting a lot of extra transmission line capacity, and access, for wind turbines?"

For whom? All the power is being sent to Colorado!

I love legislators who whine about the process being hampered by politics demanding that their political views carry the day.

LogicMan 7 years, 9 months ago

"For whom? All the power is being sent to Colorado!"

The power (and other exports) are sent there, and they send money to our employers. That's very good for our people and economy.

average 7 years, 9 months ago

More than pollution, this is another back-door water grab by Colorado. It takes a lot of water to cool this plant. Rather than finding their own source of electricity, Colorado is buying out farmers' and ranchers' Ogallala water rights throughout the region, putting another nail in the coffin for rural western Kansas communities and depleting the reservoir ever faster.

But, a few wealthy folks (mostly not Kansans, either) will make a few million at it, so it's okay.

preebo 7 years, 9 months ago

"He said KDHE has been diligent in working on the case, knowing that whatever decision is made probably will be attacked in court."

I would guarantee that.

preebo 7 years, 9 months ago

"The power (and other exports) are sent there, and they send money to our employers. That's very good for our people and economy."

This is the same line of thinking that brought us NAFTA.

What Logicman is saying is Western Kansas' environmental health is for sale. Make no mistake this is outsourcing energy production by a corporation from a state with citizens who chose clean energy (Amendment 37) to a state/region that is so poor and destitute that it has not choice but to take the offer. This is truly a sad state of affairs.

snowWI 7 years, 9 months ago

This is another result of the BRAIN DRAIN in Kansas. Most of the smart educated people leave the rural areas, and we have people using outmoded thinking. They also love to embrace economic development that pollutes the air, puts toxins in our water bodies, and adds tens of millions of carbon dioxide into the air. CO2 CAN NOT be reduced at the proposed plants using OUTDATED pulverized technology. I use to live in western Kansas. Do the leaders there actually think coal plants will keep young people there? I highly doubt it. Many rural western Kansas counties have lost population for over 100 years as well as younger college educated people for decades. No one can deny that.

jwils02p 7 years, 9 months ago

Kansas Lawmakers should know -- this electricity is NOT going to New York or California, ever. -- Harry Reid's new legislation would help build the transmission without coal. -- Irrigation won't be possible when there's no water. And the coal plants will take care of that. -- Not building them is good for the ag community. -- Carbon dioxide IS a pollutant. -- Clean energy brings more jobs and economic benefit than coal. Far more. See NREL study.

matahari 7 years, 9 months ago

ok, lets compare the amount of pollution it would create versus the deregulation of 'clean air act' being made a ' by voluntary only' for large factories only years ago by you know who....

snowWI 7 years, 9 months ago

"Kansas Lawmakers should know - this electricity is NOT going to New York or California, ever. - Harry Reid's new legislation would help build the transmission without coal. - Irrigation won't be possible when there's no water. And the coal plants will take care of that. - Not building them is good for the ag community. - Carbon dioxide IS a pollutant. - Clean energy brings more jobs and economic benefit than coal. Far more. See NREL study."

Well, the KDHE seems to be listening to those western Kansas special interest groups a whole lot. Many people who live in this state are against these proposed plants. Building coal plants and then saying we now have the transmission line infrastructure to build more wind farms is extremely backward thinking. Other states are leading the way in wind energy, but Kansas is already falling behind.

ASBESTOS 7 years, 9 months ago

OK Folks, WERE YOU REALLY SUPRISED? I mean REALLY? I have been talking about how KDHE is and has been in bed with any business interest or any city that make a claim of "economic development". We have seen KDHE at their half asssed all the way. They let the Livestock producers run roughshod over the regulations for Confined Animal feeder operations, by using the "KLA (Kansas Livestock Association) Environmetnal Services do the assessments on the feedlots. That (KLA) is a LOBBYIST group having an Environmental Services company, what a crock. The KDHE also screwed the pooch on the SFAAP with an illegal transfer of a site that SHOULD have been an on the NPL and a SUPERFUND site. Who kept it off? Gov. Kathey!

How about the NPL site deletions in Wichita at Gilbert and Mosley and the Northern Industrial Corridor. BOTH of them are supposed to be funded SOLELY from a Tax Incremental Funding (TIF) that the City of Wichita had passed in the Kansas Legislature. They got to tax their people, but STILL remained taking money from the State of Kansas and the Federal Government in violation of the NPL deletion requirements.

In Kansas with their "Risked Based Corrective Action (like the one proposed in Lawrence at Farmland) KDHE just cahnges the "land use" restrictions and deems it cleaned up.

WHo is at the heart of this disgusting corruption and bastardation of Kansas and FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS????

None other than RONNIE HAMMERSCHMIDT!!!

Why would you be suprised about them backing a City or a business interest art expense of all. IT is their standard MO. I have been sounding this trumpet FOR YEARS.

KDHE needs an OVERHAUL, as it is corrupt and ineffective. A rubber stamp for business and Muncipalities (especially Wichita). One of thes so called newspapers in Kansas need to do an investigation of KDHE and how they operate. A money audit would suprise you on how much money goes through KDHE and NEVER is applied to cleanup, but to KDHE admin costs.

ASBESTOS 7 years, 9 months ago

Remember wehn KDHE allowed the City of Lawrence to dump 19 truckolads of gas and deisel contaminated soils down by the river by the boat dock? And the site they got the contaminated soil from was supposed a "Closed" site that had a;ready been cleaned up and written off by none other than Dan Kellerman. Who was supervising the day they were "landfarming" the contaminated soil by the river in the rain? None other than the guy that "closed" the City's site, and worked fro KDHE, that was DAN KELLERMAN.

kshiker 7 years, 9 months ago

Logicsound --

You are a joke! These legislators are speaking on behalf of their constituents in Western Kansas who elected them, which is exactly within the scope of their constitutional authority. From the looks of your post it is not evident that you received above a junior high education, which means that you may be unaware that our system of government consists of numerous checks and balances. While the executive branch does indeed have regulatory authority, this authority is subject to both judicial intervention and oversight by the legislative branch.

tolawdjk 7 years, 9 months ago

logicsound04....it ammuses me to see that you think -any- regulatory agency is independent.

And of course the staff level of KDHE says approve it. That's all they can do. Sunflower submitted the appropriate applications, submitted the appropriate modeling, paid the appropriate fees. They did this all for the pollutants and regulations that were on the books at the time.

If you buy into the arguement that CO2 is a pollutant under the CLean Air Act now, what level do you require them to control to? What health based standard do you shoot for? In the absence of a health based standard, what technological standard do you shoot for. It's fine and dandy to call it a "pollutant" all you want, but you are going to have to be able to point to KDHE and tell them what law, statute, or regulation then governs the regulation and control of said pollutant.

There isn't a law or rule out there that states "Thou shall not build new things that burn coal." There never will be. THere isn't a law or regualtion out there that states "Thou shall only build IGCC coal fired plants and sequester the carbon". and there never will be. Heck, a power company in Florida just cancelled construction of two IGCC plants based on regulatory uncertainties around the technology.

You can't legislate what a company can or cannot build if it satisfies the laws and regulations you have put on the books to legislate that type of company. To do so is arbitrary and caprecious and you will lose everytime in court and twice on Sunday.

snowWI 7 years, 9 months ago

You better believe any decision that KDHE makes will be quickly criticized in court. Lawsuits could be filed. KDHE IS A CORRUPT AGENCY. They CATER to special interest groups at the expense of the viewpoints of others in Kansas that are the OPPOSITE.

deskboy04 7 years, 9 months ago

I am excited that we could have these new plants. This will be great for Kansas!

tolawdjk 7 years, 9 months ago

How will it be criticized? What Kansas Statute have they violated in review this application? What K.A.R. have they not followed?

And I am sure someone will criticize the decision. That doesn't mean that the courts will agree with that criticizm.

I'm befuddled on how you can state that they cater to special interest groups? The division in question issues permits to sources that could have an impact on air quality within the state. Period. Everyone can see the rules that have to be met in order to achieve a valid permit by going online. How is that catering? It's legal.

Chrissy Neibarger 7 years, 9 months ago

Does anyone smell a bribe on the part of KDHE? What part of health and environment supports coal plants??

snowWI 7 years, 9 months ago

"I am excited that we could have these new plants. This will be great for Kansas!"

No, it is bad news for the climatic stability in the high plains. The high plains is even more prone to drought conditions with higher temperatures. The last thing we need is to have another giant source of man-made CO2 emissions in the agricultural heartland.

yankeelady 7 years, 9 months ago

---isn't western Kansas EAST of Denver??? A westward wind, which is pretty normal for Kansas will send all those pollutants over a good part of Kansas. I hope the secretary of KDHE has enough backbone to say no. We are already seeing hotter and drier weather lately, this won't help.

deskboy04 7 years, 9 months ago

I want it to be warmer. Cold weather sucks!

FormerCentralKansan 7 years, 9 months ago

I wish they'd just build it on the Baker Wetlands so we could kill 2 birds with one stone. We could get the coal-fired energy plant and SLT all at once. I'm tired of all the complaining and bickering here in Lawrence.

snowWI 7 years, 9 months ago

"I want it to be warmer. Cold weather sucks!"

Go move to Arizona then. Higher temperatures are a BAD thing for agriculture in Kansas especially during the growing season. Higher temperatures overall increase the evaporation of moisture out of the soil leading to a higher susceptibility to drought. More man-made emissions of CO2 is a bad thing when other options are available.

snowWI 7 years, 9 months ago

"I wish they'd just build it on the Baker Wetlands so we could kill 2 birds with one stone. We could get the coal-fired energy plant and SLT all at once. I'm tired of all the complaining and bickering here in Lawrence."

Do you want the big electricity companies to build power plants without strict environmental regulations? Kansas lacks the regulations so that is why they would not build this plant in Colorado. Colorado has adpoted a mandatory renewable portfolio standard which dictates a certain percentage of electricity come from renewable sources. In the end, we are still exporting 90% of the electricity out of state while suffering the environmental and health consequences.

KsTwister 7 years, 9 months ago

Damn I hope they don't run their only aquifer dry, those western kansans can be sure whiners but we told them so. Kansas as stupidity and greed takes over. They deserve what they asked for.

etsi_truss 7 years, 9 months ago

IF YOUR Gov. Sublessss is so concerned about the environment then she should also shut down Westar plants and KCPL plants in her own backyard they are some of the largest polluters on the planet. I am sure that would please some of the Eastern Ks movers and suckers. Someday when your are out in the pastures picking up COW DUNG to heat your little huts then thank Your Gov for it. All SubLESSS is looking for is a free ride to Washington to become a clown for the EPA!! Stand back and Watch, When HER term is up she will haul A$$$ for Washington just what we need is another freeloading Liberal. Check this site for the location for the true polluters

http://www.planethazard.com/phmapenv.aspx?mode=topten&area=state&state=KS

hornhunter 7 years, 9 months ago

snowWI, Kansas has strict environmental regulations, just not the ones your concerned about. From the link that etsi_truss shared, you should be worried about your neck of the woods. FYI, I beleive Western Ks. had plenty of rain fall this summer in the growing season and the high temps. minimal. The whole state had large amounts of rain fall, have you been out by Cheyenne Bottoms lately? Colorado is building power plants, http://www.westernresourceadvocates.org/energy/coal/colorado.php#1 so if they are more strict then Ks. your statement is very misleading. Even the AG for Wisconsin that sent a letter to Ks. and discouraging this plants is even building them, http://www.mvp.usace.army.mil/regulatory/default.asp?pageid=754 Let them build you will have something else to complain about another day!

snowWI 7 years, 9 months ago

"Let them build you will have something else to complain about another day!"

The plants will have obsolete technology as soon as they are built because they are using pulverized coal technologies. The new generation is IGCC. Kansas does not have a mandatory RPS compared with Colorado. The standard is only voluntary in Kansas.

Janet Lowther 7 years, 9 months ago

jwils02p said: "Irrigation won't be possible when there's no water. And the coal plants will take care of that. "

Yup. I understand they bought TEN THOUSAND ACRES of irrigated land to get the rights to enough water to run these plants!

snowWI 7 years, 9 months ago

"Yup. I understand they bought ten thousand acres of irrigated land to get the rights to enough water to run these plants!"

The Ogallala Aquifer is still be depleted at a very fast rate in some areas of Kansas regardless of the irrigated land transfer. The aquifer in Nebraska is much more stable because it is a lot deeper.

hornhunter 7 years, 9 months ago

logicsound04, you said While it is a legislator's business to carry out his electorate's wishes, the KDHE is governed by what is good for the health and environment of the state of Kansas and should not be pressured into one decision or another based on special interests.

FYI, I have a masters degree.

Well all I can say is I hope its a law degree, cause you could make some big money from this fight It appears Sunflower has done it by the book and now little Miss K. and her office want to move further east and burn the book

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