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Archive for Saturday, October 27, 2007

Power company lining up support for coal plants

October 27, 2007

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— Powerful lawmakers, Sunflower Electric Power Corp. executives and lobbyists met behind closed doors Friday to discuss ways to try to overturn state rejection of two 700-megawatt coal plants in western Kansas.

"The main deal is we figure we have lost with one branch of the Kansas government and so we are going to do all we can with the other two branches to get this denial overturned," Sunflower spokesman Steve Miller said.

Last week, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' administration denied permits for the $3.6 billion plants near Holcomb. In his order, Kansas Secretary of Health and Environment Roderick Bremby cited concerns about emissions' contribution to climate change.

Bremby's decision has been criticized by western Kansas legislators and Sunflower officials who say the plants would be among the cleanest burning coal-fired facilities in the nation and would boost the regional economy. They note neither state nor federal governments regulate coal-produced carbon dioxide emissions.

The high-powered meeting Friday occurred in the office of Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton. Attending were Morris, House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, and state Rep. Carl Holmes, R-Liberal, chairman of the House committee that deals with utilities. Sunflower president Earl Watkins and other company officials were present.

After the meeting, Morris said: "There are a number of us who believe that the secretary acted outside the scope of his authority to do this." He said Sunflower is considering challenging the decision.

Sebelius wouldn't talk about a possible legislative fight. But environmentalists said they were preparing for challenges.

"We are aware that there is likely to be some backlash on this issue," said Craig Volland of the Sierra Club's Kansas chapter. "The majority of the people in Kansas agree with the secretary's decision."

Comments

Oracle_of_Rhode 7 years, 2 months ago

Imagine if these carbon-spewing clowns who are so intent on choking Kansas on dirty coal emissions instead put their capital and influence into wind energy. Our state would immediately emerge as a leader in sustainable energy. It would bring employers to the state and create jobs and worldwide goodwill. Instead, it's the same old pollute and steal the loot mentality.

Go destroy some other planet -- our kids live on this one. Thanks Governor and Sec. Bremby for your principled stand.

lounger 7 years, 2 months ago

Let the filthy plants stay dead! We do not need that kind of old, worn out, polluting technology in our state. It was a progressive stance that Kansas took and for once im proud of our leaders in this state!!

fetch 7 years, 2 months ago

Oh, interesting. Steve Miller's name is not mentioned today. You know, the PR executive 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."

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 2 months ago

logrithmic has become paranoid.

Watch out, logrithmic! The government spies are after you!

toefungus 7 years, 2 months ago

Logrithmic, same thing happened here in Lawrence with tax breaks for business. Left or right, it stinks.

Baille 7 years, 2 months ago

Watch out for Neufeld. He plays personal:

"On the last night of the veto session of the 1994 legislative session, the bell which officially calls the Kansas House of Representatives to order for a vote was ringing. At that time, in the lobby of the House chamber, Representative Neufeld engaged Representative Richard Alldritt in a conversation.

"The conversation took place in the lobby within 10 feet of the door to the House chambers. The lobby area of the House is sometimes used by legislators for the purpose of discussing and conducting "legislative business." The only business before the House was the omnibus appropriations bill that had to be passed before the legislature could adjourn. The defendant, Neufeld, is a Republican. Alldritt is a Democrat. Neufeld had been voting "Yes" on the omnibus bill and Alldritt had been voting "No" on the bill. According to Alldritt, Neufeld told him, "You're voting with us this time." Alldritt replied, "Excuse me?" Neufeld again stated, "You're voting with us this time. We know you were caught up in the [fifth floor] lounge in a compromising position with two [female] lobbyists earlier this evening. You're voting green or we'll call your wife." A green vote indicates a legislator is voting "Yes" on a bill. Alldritt testified that he considered Neufeld's statements a threat.

"Alldritt testified that he did not respond to the defendant's threat. Instead, Alldritt walked into the House chamber and called his wife to advise her of the threat. A short time later, a vote was taken on the appropriations bill and Alldritt voted "No." Alldritt testified he had no intention of changing his vote as a result of Neufeld's statement and he did not do so at any time. His intention at all times was to vote "No."

"After Alldritt voted "No" on the omnibus appropriations bill, a call of the House was taken. The bill had not passed and efforts were being made to salvage it. A call of the House means that no member can come into the chamber or leave the chamber unless he or she has permission of the Speaker or whoever is in the Speaker's chair. At this time, Alldritt was seated at his desk on the House floor, and he received a phone call from Neufeld, who was seated at his desk on the House floor. According to Alldritt, the defendant stated, "This is Melvin. What's going on? Don't you--you're not voting right?" Alldritt replied that he was voting red and that he was not going to change his vote. Neufeld then stated, "Well, you know what this means." Alldritt replied, "Yeah, I know what this means," and hung up. "

Baille 7 years, 2 months ago

"During the call of the House, Representative Ed McKechnie also received a telephone call from Neufeld. Neufeld told McKechnie that Alldritt had been caught in the fifth floor lounge in a very compromising situation. Neufeld advised McKechnie that they were going to pass the appropriations bill that night and that Alldritt needed to change his vote to green or "[w]e are going to call his wife and let her know he'd been caught in this compromising situation." Neufeld told McKechnie, "You need to make sure that Alldritt knows we're serious." McKechnie testified that it was his belief the purpose of the call was to have McKechnie communicate to Alldritt that if he did not change his vote from "No" to "Yes," a phone call would be made to Alldritt's wife telling her that Alldritt had been caught in a compromising position.

"A short time later, McKechnie received another telephone call from Neufeld, asking him if he had delivered the message to Alldritt. When McKechnie told him he had not, Neufeld replied, "Well, he needs to know that we're serious. He needs to know we're serious." After talking to Neufeld, McKechnie called Alldritt and asked him how he was doing. McKechnie told Alldritt that he understood what was going on and that Alldritt had to do what he had to do. McKechnie made no effort to change Alldritt's vote.

"Alldritt's wife, Carmen Alldritt, testified that she received a call from Neufeld shortly before midnight near the end of the legislative session. Neufeld told her that he was sorry to have to call and tell her that her husband's conduct was unbecoming of a member of the House of Representatives. He advised her that he was concerned about her marriage and her husband's conduct. Neufeld advised her that her husband had been seen in a lounge with two women employees who stood to benefit from the passage of the bill on which they were voting. Mrs. Alldritt responded, "What do you want me to do now, call my husband up to get him to change his vote?" Neufeld replied, "Well, yes." Alldritt then received a phone call at his desk on the House floor from his wife, who was very upset. She advised Alldritt that Neufeld had called and told her that there were problems in her marriage and that her husband was behaving in a way unfit for a legislator. "

http://www.kscourts.org/cases-and-opinions/opinions/supct/1996/19961108/74412.htm

oldgoof 7 years, 2 months ago

Last time I checked, a few legislators could get together with a few lobbyists and some executives anytime. Its perfectly legal. Legislators meet with their constitutents every day. And left-wing or right-wing has nothing to do with it. Happens every day. Sierra club does it too. Open meeting law (in Kansas) only kicks in when you get a majority of a quorum.

snowWI 7 years, 2 months ago

"The main deal is we figure we have lost with one branch of the Kansas government and so we are going to do all we can with the other two branches to get this denial overturned," Sunflower spokesman Steve Miller said.

This man can not except realilty. The majority of the people in this state know that coal plants are not good for our future in terms of carbon emissions, health concerns, and mercury concerns. This is definitely an example of the extreme right wing trying to support the big business at all costs. Kansas would get 10% of the electricity generated. Unfortunately, I expect a legislative fight because the extreme Republicans can not except reality that includes the denial of the permit.

etsi_truss 7 years, 2 months ago

Sierra Club moves to stop kcp&L from constructing Iatan II

about face mr. pope!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kansas City, Mo.)-In a groundbreaking agreement that can serve as a model for environmental groups and utilities working together, the Sierra Club, Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L), and the Concerned Citizens of Platte County (CCPC) have agreed on a set of initiatives to offset carbon dioxide (CO2) and reduce other emissions for the Kansas City-based utility. Under the agreement announced today, KCP&L agrees to pursue offsets for all of the global warming emissions associated with its new plant through significant investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and cut pollution from its existing plants in order to improve air quality in the Greater Kansas City metro area. The agreement proposes other investments in clean energy, significant decreases in emissions and resolves four appeals pending between the Sierra Club, CCPC, and KCP&L. Full implementation of the terms of the agreement will necessitate approval from the appropriate authorities, as some of the initiatives in this agreement require either enabling legislative policy or regulatory approval.

"This agreement is a win for our climate, for the environment, and for the residents of the Kansas City area," said Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director. "

http://www.kcpl.com/brochures/ResWire_Wi:

I guess Sunflower hasn't greased enough palms yet!!!!!!!!!!!

Baille 7 years, 2 months ago

Goof:

It wasn't Neufeld meeting with the lobbyist. It was Neufeld threatening the other rep to make the rep change his vote, and it was Neufeld calling the guys wife at midnight telling the wife to call the rep and make the rep change his vote. The rep never folded, but Neufeld was left groveling for forgiveness - cause he got outed.

fetch 7 years, 2 months ago

Baille- i understand. SnowWI sez- "This is definitely an example of the extreme right wing trying to support the big business at all costs.

Snow, hate to rain on your parade, but this is not a D/R issue. The liberal Demos from Ellis County and other western Kansas counties are of the same mind as the R's as to the coal plant.

Snow, didn't you live in western kansas somewhere at one time. What city or county.

snowWI 7 years, 2 months ago

fetch (Anonymous) says: "Snow, hate to rain on your parade, but this is not a D/R issue. The liberal Demos from Ellis County and other western Kansas counties are of the same mind as the R's as to the coal plant.

Snow, didn't you live in western kansas somewhere at one time. What city or county."

Yes, I do see this ending up being a legislative battle. Most democrats in western Kansas would probably be classified as republicans in other areas of the US. The western Kansas people always say that they are desparate for new jobs, but I think they ignore the fact that most of the younger people move to the larger urban areas anyway because there is a greater diversification of jobs avilable. Most of the younger generations go off to college, and do not return to the rural areas. Also, if you look at the data you will see that their are very few younger people left in ANY county that has a population density of under 10 people per square mile. Yes, I have lived in Hays, Kansas before. I am very knowledgable about the issues facing all areas of Kansas. (Urban and Rural).

ralphralph 7 years, 2 months ago

Coal blows. Clean ... Safe ... Nuclear.

fetch 7 years, 2 months ago

Snow, thanks. I'm not disagreeing with your 6:10 post, just the 2:59 one where you ascribe this as a right-wing extremist position. The support for the power plants from legislators in the western counties covers the full spectrum politically, and geographically. It would be more accurate to characterize it as a west-east or rural-urban issue in the upcoming legislature, than it is to describe this as a republican Or right wing position. . . Some of my friends in Ellis county would choke if they heard they were being compared to a Republican elsewhere. Of course, we all understand that the Blue Dogs, Dennis More, the Clintons and the South in general are not the same as a Tip ONeil.

snowWI 7 years, 2 months ago

fetch (Anonymous) says: "It would be more accurate to characterize it as a west-east or rural-urban issue in the upcoming legislature, than it is to describe this as a republican Or right wing position."

I can understand that they want to promote economic development in those rural areas, but sometimes I think that they are so desperate to approve projects that they ignore the environmental consequnces. Some good examples would be the ethanol plants, the overuse of irrigation in an area that gets 10-15 inches of rainfall, and the coal plant issue. As I said in other posts the technology they want to use is pulverized coal, and CO2 emissions will be over 10 million tons per year. Also, all coal plants will emit mercury no matter what technologies they use to try to mitigate it. The fact is that these proposed coal plants are not going to keep the younger people from leaving those western Kansas counties. You will likely see a continuation of the rural exodus in the more remote counties. This has been happening for 75-100 years in some areas.

KsTwister 7 years, 2 months ago

Coal needs water, lots of water. How stupid if there is not enough for livestock,crops and people. Let alone the CO2 issue. Do you think the owners of a coal plant are going to live next to it??

Baille 7 years, 2 months ago

I agree, Snow. I grew up rural and always heard that old gem about us country folk being the stewards of the land and true conservationists; however, the reality is that short term needs/wants often trump long-term wisdom.

It seems to me at some point we have to step back and really think through growing wheat in the desert, spewing mercury into our environment so that Dallas can have electricity, and continuing to prop up western Kansas with our tax money when the unfettered free market would have resulted in a drastic demographic change long, long ago.

teacher4ku 7 years, 2 months ago

Build your wind turbines in eastern Kansas! You can rely on wind power, and then don't complain when you don't have continuous electricity. If you think we can maintain sustainable power without coal powered electricity, you're living in the dark. Which is where you will be most of the time if you are relying on wind power.

snowWI 7 years, 2 months ago

teacher4ku (Anonymous) says:

"Build your wind turbines in eastern Kansas! You can rely on wind power, and then don't complain when you don't have continuous electricity. If you think we can maintain sustainable power without coal powered electricity, you're living in the dark. Which is where you will be most of the time if you are relying on wind power."

I do NOT support a new large coal plant in Kansas. The reason is that we already have many coal plants in this state that spew millions of tons of CO2 annualy along with NO2, SO2, and mercury emissions. Kansas will have to find a way to power the future through nuclear, wind, and natural gas. The last thing this state needs is more coal plants that produce massive CO2 emissions. I do not support adding to the future climatic instability of the plains by supporting a project that adds millions of tons of man-made CO2 every year. I would like to take precautionary steps to prevent western Kansas from turning into a desert. We will not even talk about the rapid decline of the Ogallala aquifer in some areas. I have lived in western Kansas before so I DO know the issues that affect rural areas of Kansas. Kansas must look at long-term solutions instead of thinking short-term.

teacher4ku 7 years, 2 months ago

If you guys and gals want to be consistent, then I think you need to demand that automakers immediately stop producing gasoline powered vehicles. These vehicles, especially the monsterous SUV's are extremely inefficient. I know you will come up with some imaginitive response to defend your vehicle, but face it, these vehicles are a large part of the problem. Maybe they should produce pedal cars, that way we could fight obesity as well as save the Earth. Oh, and by the way, I currently live in western Kansas, and you probably have no clue what the current issues are out here.

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