Archive for Friday, April 4, 2008

Coal plant supporters hoping for override

Senate rolls back veto, but House may not go along

April 4, 2008


Senate votes to override coal veto

The Senate votes to override Governor Kathleen Sebelius' veto of a bill allowing two coal-fired power plants in Southwest Kansas. Enlarge video

— Supporters of two coal-fired power plants on Thursday tried to maneuver around Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' rejection of the $3.6 billion project.

The Senate voted to override Sebelius' veto of a bill requiring construction of the two 700-megawatt plants in southwest Kansas.

But the Senate also needs the House to get a two-thirds majority to override the veto, and the prospect of that happening is unclear.

After the 32-7 vote to override in the Senate, Sebelius urged House members who voted against the original bill "to work to support my veto."

She added, "I remain hopeful that discussions about sound, long-term energy policy will still occur with utility companies and legislators before the end of the (legislative) session."

But House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, a strong supporter of the plants, said he believed he was getting near the 84 votes he needed in the 125-member House to override Sebelius' veto.

On Thursday, the House gave first-round approval to a similar bill, in a 79-39 vote, and even though that was short of a two-thirds majority, Neufeld said he believed there would be 84 votes for the measure on final passage today. "Unless somebody has lied to me," Neufeld said. If Neufeld is right, then that would be enough votes to override an expected veto of that bill.

But state Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, sounded doubtful. "Melvin's been saying he has 84 votes for two months," he said.

The maneuvering is in response to a decision last year by the Sebelius administration to deny permits for the project, citing concerns over the plants' projected annual emissions of 11 million tons of carbon dioxide and their effect on climate change.

Sebelius has also said that because of the increasing cost of coal, and possible federal regulation of CO2, the use of coal-fired generation will result in increased electric rates. The measures would also strip the state of authority that was cited to reject the project.

Familiar arguments were made both for and against the plants during debate.

Several House members rejected that CO2 emissions were linked to climate change. Others said the state acted without authority in denying the plants because there are no regulations on carbon dioxide.

And some lawmakers said they resented lawmakers from outside western Kansas trying to deny economic benefits to western Kansas.

In the Senate, the veto override was done without comment. Sen. Roger Pine, R-Lawrence, voted to override, and Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, voted to support the veto.


doc1 10 years, 1 month ago

They will beg steal and borrow and do whatever it takes to get those votes. Those votes are for sale and it's a shame.

DaREEKKU 10 years, 1 month ago

If energy costs are going up and we are concerned about our state AT ALL, then why would our lawmakers even consider this? I wonder who will be getting all of the money for this? Wow....what a great deal.....providing jobs for people in a dirty pollution factory instead of jobs in green energy which would be cleaner. This doesn't sound friendly for Kansas at all.....

KsTwister 10 years, 1 month ago

Australia can do better then the USA it appears. Good for them. "The Waubra Wind Farm is under construction and will consist of 128 wind turbines, with associated substations and an operations centre. Each wind turbine will generate 1.5 megawatts (MW), providing a total installed capacity of 192 MW. The wind farm is expected to be operational by mid 2008.[1]The green energy generated by the wind farm each year will provide for 143,000 households more than enough to power the nearby City of Ballarat. The Waubra Wind Farm is expected to offset up to 635,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year. This helps to meet future energy needs without further contributing to the cause of climate change.[2]"And this is just one.....

BrianR 10 years, 1 month ago

Since the State of Kansas is setting the example that coal is the wave of the future, can I get a tax break to convert my car to coal?

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years, 1 month ago

There is no CO2 emissions standard. Therefore, there is NO basis on which to reject the plant.

Chris Golledge 10 years, 1 month ago

"Several House members rejected that CO2 emissions were linked to climate change."Wow. Let's see, a) If you understand wave physics, you can understand that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.b) If you can read a thermometer (or many thousand) and average the results, you can understand that the earth is getting warmer.c) The level of CO2 is rising.d) If you understand anything about carbon isotopes, you can understand that the C in the additional CO2 is coming from fossil fuels.There are no other potential causes that have more than a fringe of people who believe in them. None have stood up to independent verification. Sure, there are various cycles, but they don't explain the 150-year trend.Who are these people and what do they not understand? Do they think they really understand the science better than hundreds of research PhDs? Can we know for sure? No.What can we know for sure? Not much.When there's doubt, it's best to play the odds. The trend for those who do not believe that human activity is the prime factor in recent climate change has been in a downward direction for a couple of decades. Where would you put your money?Where are these people putting their money?

jafs 10 years, 1 month ago

STRS,I believe the KDHE had the right to reject the plants on the grounds that they pose a health and/or environmental risk for Kansas - after all, that's their name and mission.If states are in fact limited to federal standards, we're all in trouble. And, what ever happened to states' rights?

a_flock_of_jayhawks 10 years, 1 month ago

SettingTheRecordStraight (Anonymous) says:"There is no CO2 emissions standard. Therefore, there is NO basis on which to reject the plant."But there is a 2007 SCOTUS decision that has put pressure on the EPA along with Congressional pressure to regulate CO2 and a lawsuit filed this week by 17 states. Kansas can either get on board or make a huge mistake that will cost us dearly later. Besides, it is the right thing to do.

BigDog 10 years, 1 month ago

If people are really so concerned about water use by these coal plants in western Kansas ..... do they have the same concern about the ethanol plants and are they trying to stop them from being built throughout the state?

snowWI 10 years, 1 month ago

beobachter,I need to see a link. So this means that the House does not have enough votes to override a Sebeilus veto?

BigDog 10 years, 1 month ago

This was a different bill .... this one has not been through the Senate yet.

Bill Griffith 10 years, 1 month ago

A couple of thoughts: It is true that a penetration of windpower of 15-25% in Kansas will need extensive new transmission lines. The good news (assuming your land isn't condemned to build them) is that transmission plans and construction are going ahead in Kansas. The loss (at this time) of the Holcomb II project has only put a kink in the line down to Oklahoma and Texas that was to serve Golden Spread. The Kansas Transmission Authority is a governmental panel that is doing some decent work right now. I also would like to take this opportunity to remind folks that we are probably looking at an expansion of windpower as compressed air storage comes into being. Granted that is a projection on my part, but people smarter than me are predicting this. What this will do is allow baseload energy from windpower. As far as the legislature goes, a few years ago when I was puzzled by the actions of my native state's legislature (Kansas), I did a quick study of the educational backgrounds of our august body. It broke down to roughly 3 equal slices of the pie: a college degree, some college, or no college. That explained much but not all of my frustration at that particular point in time. But for the measly pay and the time of year for serving that is the best we can expect and it does mirror many other states, especially ones with an agrarian history.I am not going to waste time commenting on the WSJ article.

BigDog 10 years, 1 month ago

New reasons to be suspicious of ethanolOFFICIALS in Tampa, Florida, got a surprise recently when a local firm building the state's first ethanol-production factory put in a request for 400,000 gallons (1.5m litres) a day of city water. The request by US Envirofuels would make the facility one of the city's top ten water consumers overnight, and the company plans to double its size. Florida is suffering from a prolonged drought. Rivers and lakes are at record lows and residents wonder where the extra water will come from.They are not alone. A backlash against the federally financed biofuels boom is growing around the country, and "water could be the Achilles heel" of ethanol, said a report by the Minneapolis-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.The number of ethanol factories has almost tripled in the past eight years from 50 to about 140. A further 60 or so are under construction. In 2007 President George Bush signed legislation requiring a fivefold increase in biofuels production, to 36 billion gallons by 2022.

ENGWOOD 10 years, 1 month ago

"COOL" Does your Mother know you are ob the computer again!!!!!!!

snowWI 10 years, 1 month ago

"The losers here are ordinary Kansans, who won't benefit from a reliable source of low-cost power and will pay higher electricity rates. The state is running up against the limits of its ability to provide electricity for its growing population and economy:."The WSJ is wrong with this statement. The population is not growing much at all in KS, and nearly all of the electricity will be sent out to Colorado. I think belexus already mentioned that SW Kansas does not have the highest electricity rates in the state.

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