Panel rejects state regs on emissions

? A state panel studying ways to reduce greenhouse gases has rejected the idea of Kansas implementing state-level regulation on the climate-changing emissions.

Members of the Greenhouse Gas Policy Committee of the Kansas Energy Council filled out an opinion poll at their meeting on Wednesday.

By an 8-3 margin, the panel said the federal government should implement national greenhouse gas regulation. Conversely, by an 8-3 margin, the panel felt it would not be good for Kansas “to show leadership” and implement its own greenhouse gas regulations.

Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, are believed by most scientists to be the cause of dangerous climate change.

Fierce debates are raging on the state, national and international levels about what to do to reduce C02 emissions. Kansas has been at the center of one such debate since Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ administration blocked two coal-fired power plants because of concerns about carbon dioxide emissions.

Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson, co-chair of the Kansas Energy Council, said he voted in the committee’s opinion poll for the state to implement regulations but doesn’t believe Kansas should act alone on the issue.

Parkinson and other committee members said Kansas must consider policy options to reduce greenhouse gases because Congress and the three remaining presidential candidates, one of whom will take office next year, appear poised to implement proposals that would set greenhouse gas limits and allow industries to trade allowed emission levels.

“This is the only branch of Kansas government right now that is thoroughly looking at this issue,” he said.

Committee members, representing a wide range of interests from industry to environmentalists, said the state must be prepared for the possibility of a federal “cap and trade” system.

The committee said it would try to put together policy recommendations to make sure that Kansas’ interests and concerns in any federal law are adequately covered.

“We’re developing an understanding of what questions to ask and what policies to put forward,” said committee chairman Bruce Snead.