Archive for Wednesday, April 16, 2008

State officials want to be ahead of new environmental rules

April 16, 2008


— Sensing that federal greenhouse gas regulations are a near certainty, Kansas officials say they want to put the state in a winning position when the new rules take effect.

But that will be difficult given the state's dependence on electricity produced by carbon dioxide-emitting coal, one of the primary sources of climate-changing greenhouse gases.

"Kansas is in a challenging situation when it comes to federal legislation," said Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson.

At the congressional level, officials say the most likely legislation to gain approval next year is one that would establish a "cap-and-trade" system.

The federal government would set a limit on CO2 for certain categories of emitters, who could then engage in trades to try to keep their levels below the cap. Supporters of this proposal say it will provide an incentive for innovation to reduce emissions.

Such a system would probably give companies credits for offsetting their carbon dioxide emissions.

Under that scenario, officials say Kansas could benefit from these offsets by developing more wind power or through carbon sequestration, which is capturing CO2 and pumping it underground.

But officials also say that under greenhouse gas regulations, the cost of energy is going to go up.

"Honest policy debate acknowledges that all approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions will force consumers to pay more for goods and services that require combustion of fossil fuel," said Liz Brosius, director of the Kansas Energy Council.

The hit in Kansas could be greater than other states because approximately 75 percent of electricity in Kansas is generated by coal-fired plants. The national average is 50 percent.

The Kansas Energy Council is getting ready for a cap-and-trade system.

Its co-chairman Ken Frahm called state efforts "a darned important" dress rehearsal.

But in this area, Kansas is behind many other states.

Ten northeastern and mid-Atlantic states are part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that will start capping emissions in 2009 and then reducing emissions 10 percent by 2019.

The Western Climate Initiative, which includes California and five other states, two Canadian provinces and one Mexican state, has formed a regional cap-and-trade system to reduce emissions 15 percent by 2020.

Kansas has joined the Midwestern Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord. This includes five other states and a Canadian province but its work is trailing the other regional initiatives.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 9 months ago

The cap and trade solution is merely a way to avoid or delay dealing with the problem. In my opinion, the better way to deal with CO2 is to levy a gradually increasing tax on all industrial/transportation sources. The tax could be offset with corresponding decreases in other taxes, most appropriately the most regressive forms such as sales, property and payroll taxes.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 9 months ago

"If it is a federal tax, Im afraid that little state off-set will occur, but I would agree with bozo's suggestion."The tax likely would be levied on a federal level, but there could easily be a revenue-sharing system implemented."Meanwhile China will produce 50% of the worlds CO2 by 2020."And merely telling China that they can't build coal-fired plants won't have any useful effect. There needs to be a crash program to get alternative power sources available worldwide, not only to replace our own obsolete generation infrastructure, but to help developing countries to develop with infrastructure that doesn't threaten us all.

ASBESTOS 9 years, 9 months ago

If KDHE is as good with GHG as they are with all the other "environmental regulations" that they have screwed up for the last 2 decades, then the GHG faction is in BIG TROUBLE.

justthefacts 9 years, 9 months ago

Never mind making China or other countries do what we want! How about we set a good example first? Kansas law makers are intent upon giving approval to 2 coal plants in western Ks. They claim we need the energy, it will be clean, and it will help the KS economy, especially out west where jobs etc. are more scarce. The obsession with the coal plant issue has kept this year's Legislature from doing much of anything else. The feds are about to require a bunch of new things in connection with these plants. So why are our lawmakers hell bent to get these plants approved, before the feds hand down what may be even stricter standards? Higher fed standards, when compared with state standards, will only hike up the costs to build and operate new plants. Those costs are passed along to consumers in the form of higher rates, and will impact how long it will be before the plants are profitable. The people who work at such plants are often specialized professionals, with special training. If KS does not have the work force in place by the time the plants are built, they will be imported from elsewhere. No big boon to Ks if we have to import workers. The bulk of energy produced at these plants will be exported out of state. How does that help Kansans. The cost of energy is going to go up, no matter the source. And what do we do when we run out? Coal - like oil and gas - is a limited resource. And it's one of the dirtier sources of energy. We can and will run out of it, and as it gets more rare, the prices will keep going up. You can scrub and scrub, and do all kinds of things to make the yellow/black smoke white, but burning coal creates toxins that have to go somewhere. There has long been an advisory out warning people not to eat KS fish because of all the mercury in our water! So why do we need/want them? Profits for the company's owners. Pure and simple. You would think with all the advances made in science, we could have come up with better (cheaper, more available, & cleaner) energy sources then oil, gas and coal. Come on people. Surely there is a better source of energy!?

salad 9 years, 9 months ago

"You would think with all the advances made in science, we could have come up with better (cheaper, more available, & cleaner) energy sources then oil, gas and coal. Come on people. Surely there is a better source of energy!?"Well, except for nuclear, there's not. If we choose not to use the 250 years worth of coal in Wyoming, then the coal producers will simply sell it to india and china, who'll be happy to burn it for us. The CO2 problem will be solved once we burn it all out of the ground and have to clean up the mess and find a new energy source. I mean, these are humans we're talking about here. It's like telling the fat kid to stay away from the yummy donuts because they're bad for his/her health.

hornhunter 9 years, 9 months ago

Why is it every one is so bent out of shape over the coal plants? Gas turbines emitt the same CO2 but yet they are ok ? Natural gas prices have already gone up without any tax on CO2 can you imagine what it will be when a tax is put into place. With all these taxes our electricity rates WILL go up, either produced by coal or gas. On top of that, when we heat our homes in the winter months with natural gas, that gas is not putting of CO2 until after we burn in in our homes. Will we be taxed yet again on this CO2 per btu? How about our cars?Maybe I am thinking about this in the wrong way, but!! Where will it stop?

salad 9 years, 9 months ago

All good questions. If humans actually could think proactively, then we'd have been CONSERVING for decades now. I think it's about impossible to tell americans they can't have their cars, or tell them they have to pay out the nose to drive or heat their homes, but I think it IS possible to tell them they can't drive a car that weighs 7000 lb and gets 11 mpg. Conservation is the simplest and most effective thing we can do.

beeline 9 years, 9 months ago

Taxes go to nothing good. Solve the problem. Conservation won't work. We keep making more of us. Nuclear is our current answer. Four new plants in KS and we sell what we don't use. Kansas, the energy state.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 9 months ago

"But I can't comstrain myself completely:.nuclear, nuclear & nuclear!!"The carbon footprint of nuclear is actually quite high. Add to that its countless other dangerous characteristics, and voila, we're using cannons for door knockers. If we go down that road, don't bother ducking-- just bend over, and kiss your sweet a$$ goodbye.

georgeofwesternkansas 9 years, 9 months ago

"Four new plants in KS and we sell what we don't use. Kansas, the energy state."Great Idea if you don't mind the average $100 monthly residental bill going to $400. Maybe Kathy will pay that increase for you!!4 new plants will not the 14+ dirty coal plants that eastern kansas is currently using.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.