Topeka Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson said Tuesday that even if the Legislature overrides Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' veto of two coal-fired power plants, the administration will try to block the project.
"We're certainly going to evaluate all of our options," said Parkinson, who is considered Sebelius' top energy adviser.
Parkinson's comments drew criticism from House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, who supports the $3.6 billion project.
"The lieutenant governor's comments are another example of the governor's administration ignoring the will of the people of Kansas and the future energy needs of our entire state," Neufeld said.
Parkinson's remarks came after an Earth Day event in which he urged the Legislature to sustain Sebelius' veto of a bill that would allow construction of two 700-megawatt coal-burning units in southwestern Kansas.
The Sebelius administration rejected the plants, citing concerns about the project's annual emission of 11 million tons of carbon dioxide and its effect on global warming. Sebelius has also complained that the bill approved by the Legislature would strip the state of its environmental regulatory authority.
The project is a partnership between Hays-based Sunflower Electric Power Corp. and companies in Colorado and Texas. Approximately 85 percent of the energy would be used in Colorado and Texas.
Lawmakers who support the plants have vowed to push through legislation to have them built.
Lawmakers return for the wrap-up session April 30. To override Sebelius' veto would require two-thirds majorities, which is 84 votes in the 125-member House and 27 votes in the 40-member Senate.
The Legislature is close. The bill Sebelius vetoed received 83 votes in the House and 32 in the Senate.