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Archive for Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Coal plant remarks spark House ire

April 23, 2008

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— 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.

Comments

Richard Boyd 6 years ago

The thing that troubles me, is NOT his position. Granted, I am on the opposite side of this one, after all if we fail to build it the co-op is simply going to eastern Colorado to plant it. In which case we would get ALL of the CO2, but of course none of economic benefit or later the electricity.My trouble is the HYPOCRISY of his attitude, he is a servant of Kansans (albeit in this case through our elected legislature). Being a democrat, I am surprised how soon the forgets this EXACT same strategy is employed by the more fanatical "religious" types. That is if the current law, court rulings or legislative paradigms do not agree with your position or beliefs then you do whatever is necessary to impose your personal views in order to proscribe or constrain some otherwise legal activity. The mega-church sponsored "anti-abortion grand jury" in Wichita is the example that comes to mind. Contrary to the law of the land, they pine away for private medical records, referal lists and fish for any sort of juicy tid-bit to find it's way (post on) the website. They attempt to do in the courts what they can't in the legislature.

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situveux1 6 years ago

My apologies...the link to the campaign finance report should be page 71 of 73 if you are looking at the page numbers in Adobe Reader. It is page 33 of 35 for Schedule C if you are looking at the page numbers on the report.

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situveux1 6 years ago

Some were asking for a link to the poll questions. I guess I posted this under another story rather than here. I included the link to the finance report because Cooper & Secrest were the polling firm conducting the poll.________In addition, you can go to page 33 of http://ethics.ks.gov/CFAScanned/StWide/2010ElecCycle/200801/SW01KS_200801.pdfand see an expenditure of $9,475 by Kathleen Sebelius' campaign to Cooper and Secrest for "Research". The expenditure is dated 11/30/07, just under 1 month before the release of the poll.http://www.climateandenergy.org/_FileLibrary/FileImage/CSecrestKSClimateMemo.pdfHere you can read the poll questions for yourself.The questions really don't matter to me anymore. I think they could have been phrased differently, but in the end I can't trust a polling company that may have been paid by Sebelius herself. I'm sure Neufeld's poll would have shown support just as much as this poll showed opposition.

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devobrun 6 years ago

"Wind's variability and its lack of correlation with peak demand highlight a major challenge for wind energy: Presently, there is no adequate storage system for wind-generated electricity - though progress is being made on updating older technologies, and on refining newer ones. Until commercially viable storage is a reality, wind energy will remain unreliable.Wind energy also comes with legitimate environmental concerns. Sterling Burnett, Senior Fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, writes, "Bringing a conventional power plant on line to supply power is not as simple as turning on a switch; thus most of the fossil fuel power stations required to supplement wind turbines are not 'redundant,' but must run continuously, even if at reduced levels. When combined with the CO2 emitted and pollutants released in the manufacture and maintenance of wind towers and their associated infrastructure, substituting wind power for fossil fuels does little to reduce air pollution."Wind farms also require vast tracts of land, disrupting farming acreage and animal habitats; and, as Sterling Burnett has pointed out, turbine blades kill thousands of birds each year, including protected species."Drew Thornley : natural resources policy analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and a Planet Gore contributor.Wind, photo voltaic, biofuel, and other alternatives are simply not ready for prime time. This isn't the dance of the sugar plum fairies folks. Build the coal-fired plants. Stop dreaming.

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ENGWOOD 6 years ago

Obamas Mama and Parkinson just doing a little political posturing for National office. Both have shown little concern for the Western Kansas economy. Where were they when the Finney County beef processing plant burned and 2400 people lost their jobs or when the Liberal Trailmobile manufacturing plant closed or the Gibsons distribution center in Dodge City closed. Their ideas for Eco Devo is corrupt Casinos which will take that many more spendable dollars away from legitimate Western Kansas businesses and add a larger burden to our Social Services. WHAT A PAIR

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Multidisciplinary 6 years ago

I'm a Lawrencian, and for me it begins a few feet west of Wanamaker. Have you checked out the land changes out there? LOL.When I lived in Denver, they called Western Ks "East Aurora". I nearly fell over laughing when I first heard that.

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ralphralph 6 years ago

Clean. Safe. Reliable. Nuclear.There's your answer, folks.btw ... for Lawrencians, Western Kansas begins somewhere out by Wakarusa.

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Richard Wade 6 years ago

I'm opposed to coal plants and agree with those who see the humor in legislators who think they are the people of Kansas. As is often the case, they've forgotten the real people of Kansas - the ones who voted them in. I've yet to see a survey of Kansans that shows we support the plants.Having said that, I'd like to see western Kansas prosper. Why don't all these intelligent people here focus on the very real problem George described: Provide needed power at a reasonable cost that supports economic development. A better solution to the problem would help Kansas eliminate the coal plant project and keep me from having to listen to a worthless legislature attack an honest government official who actually weighed the facts before him and made the decision he judged to be in the best interest of Kansans. If the legislature had the best interests of Kansans in mind they would have spent all this time weighing the facts of a cost/benefit analysis. Instead they postured for their own interests whether they be party politics, geographic, or financial.

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dirkleisure 6 years ago

dirkleisure,1.4 MW does not = 1400 MW. You can't even get that right.Never said it did. Thanks, though. Another diversion.

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cool 6 years ago

yeah, Neufeld & Moline don't like it....cutting into their 'lobbyist fees'.....http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/apwire/3699d5ccbdda3aed762c1c6975458766.htm

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hornhunter 6 years ago

Shatt (Anonymous) says: Another perfect example of the liberals taking an issue to court when they cant win at the ballot box. Now THAT is a democracy!Win at the ballet box?? This shouldn't have been voted on to begin with, permitts should have been granted. ( NO LAWS ON CO2).......85% of the power going to Colo. big deal, how much power is coming to Ks. for other states on a hot summer day when Ks. power plants can't generate enough?Why not let another state help pay for the Holcomb power plants and get large amount of taxes from selling power out of state too?A large amount of people posting here do not under stand that the coops that own Sunflower do have a say in how their power plant is ran, not like the folks in the N.E part of the state that jsut keep the profitts high for their investor owned utillity. dirkleisure, 1.4 MW does not = 1400 MW. You can't even get that right.

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its_getting_warmer 6 years ago

mancityfooty: "George, if you want this approved, here is what you'll have to do."Sunflower had previously designed a one-unit addition, but the big lenders wouldn't lend money on it. The larger proposal, which would provide operational economies of scale, and cheaper energy production costs, was suggested.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years ago

Uh, hey everyone. When I was in high school (a lot of years ago) I think I remember a science teacher telling me that plants grow by absorbing..........(shhhh, don't tell the gov).............(((((((Co2!!!!!!!!!))))))))) Something called "photosynthesis, I think I remember.I have been seeing news reports on food shortages, particularly in poorer parts of the world. Vegetables grow on green plants, Green plants that use (Shhhhhhhhh, dammit) ...........(Co2)So how do all you wacko environmentalists who are sooooooooooooo opposed to us having dependable electric power capability justify your assertions that (shhhhhh, the gov is listening!!!) (Co2)....... Is BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT????????????? Some arcane theory that somehow, some sort of nebulous gas is trapped and will bring back the molton lava stage of this island Earth??????? You folks who are creating all the fuss about the new coal fired plants are just a bunch of political wackos, trying to shove your dubious assertions on all of us, raise our electric bills, make the electric grid more undependable, and just plain shove your political motives down the throats of others who would otherwise IGNORE you and your stupid assertions. No amount of reality will cure your pristine vision of all of us back in horse and wagon days. I know anti-growth and anti-development adgendas when I see them, I have lived in Lawrence for over 30 years.

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Corey Williams 6 years ago

"It is very frustrating that our fellow Kansans will not in any way help us with our delema."George, if you want this approved, here is what you'll have to do. Cut the plants down to a 300 megawatt plant. That still leaves room for expansion over the 15% you would get out of the current proposal.You have to see that it's not this idea of western Kansas getting more power that we're against. It's having to send 85% of it to two other states just because their laws won't allow this type of plant to be built. Cut it down to the size that western Kansas needs and it's a fair bet it could get passed.

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BigAl 6 years ago

Shatt (Anonymous) says: Another perfect example of the liberals taking an issue to court when they cant win at the ballot box. Now THAT is a democracy!***********Actually Shatt, the voters of Kansas, a red state, put a democrat in as Governor. Democrats WON at the ballot box. THAT is a democracy.

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dirkleisure 6 years ago

Again, your justification of "clean up their own side of the street" is total phoniness. This is not a collective. The "people" of NE Kansas don't control their power plants any more than the "people" of SW Kansas do.If the proposal was for an additional 1.4 MW of coal fired plants at St. Mary's, the opposition would be the same, based upon the same arguments. If the proposal was for an additional 1.4 MW of coal fired plants at Lawrence, the opposition would be the same, based upon the same arguments.You, on the other hand, could care less. So your insistence upon Lawrence bashing, again, is just a personal distaste and has absolutely nothing to do with "cleaning up their own side of the street" or "taking away economic opportunities from those much farther away."Be honest about it, and stop with the phony excuses. They are completely without merit. The question before us is the construction of 1.4 MW of new coal fired plants. The only merit to a discussion about their location is whether they are within the borders of the State of Kansas.If you don't like it, then secede. Wouldn't be the first time a bunch of crackpots from SW Kansas had tried to do it. Good luck without the economic engine that builds your roads, educates your kids, and cares for your elderly and disabled.

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its_getting_warmer 6 years ago

Oh good. Cool is posting news only three weeks old.

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its_getting_warmer 6 years ago

dirkleisure: "You are Lawrence bashing because it makes you feel better."Not bashing. Just point out hypocrisies. And yes, it does scratch an itch of mine to point out hypocrisies. Yours included.The people in NE Kansas should clean up their own side of the street before preaching to and taking away economic opportunities from those much farther away. It is a simple, and fair, point.

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dirkleisure 6 years ago

Westar is spending $500 million to clean up Jeffries, Lawrence, and Shawnee County.But if somebody wants to petition the KCC to allow for a member-owned cooperative to be a regulated utility for Douglas County, I'll happily sign on.You can save your excuses. You are Lawrence bashing because it makes you feel better. There's nothing wrong with that, but at least be honest about it. All this flopping about to justify your self-gratifying position just makes you look sad and pathetic.

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georgeofwesternkansas 6 years ago

Well the CEO of sunflower is earning way less than $500K, maybe half.

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its_getting_warmer 6 years ago

George, the people in Lawrence do not, and maybe can not, understand the difference between member-owned cooperatives and for-profit investor owned companies.If they would simply compare the lifestyles and compensation of the management and boards of Westar vs Sunflower organizations, they could easily figure it out.I think multi-millionare David Wittig still has his fancy-pants tickets in the front rows of Allen Field House. How many MILLIONS are at dispute just on the attorneys fees? So what are Lawrence's cheap energy rates subsidizing? Dirty energy or David Wittig. Or both.

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georgeofwesternkansas 6 years ago

I am in the industry but will stand no financial gain. We currently pay 9 cents/kw, generation cost on coal is 2 cents/kw. generation cost on natural gas is around 8, generarion cost on Nuc is 15. Wind generation cost is ??, it cannot be considered base generation, only supplimental. The coops who own sunflower are currently using all of the generartion of the current 345 plant. to carry us into the future (30 years) we need to secure another 200 megs. With this deal we get that 200 Megs and Colorado/Texas pays for the cost of generation and also the management fee will get sunflower in the black (finally) after 20 years of being broke. Meanwhile we get to keep our 9 cents/kw. Our rates are currently on the edge for economic devlopment, if we have to purchase power on the open market rates will have to go higher, or a new power purchase contract with eastern missouri rates will go higher. If rates go higher we will die on the vine with economic devlopment. This thing is not too complicated, and as far as I know no one is getting rich.Thanks for asking, most think there is somthing evil about our motives.

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toe 6 years ago

Working with the Gov. was a mistake from the very beginning.

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Ralph Reed 6 years ago

Logic. Thanks for the link. The report is a short read and informative BUT it's poorly written and written with an obvious agenda. It does not present the results, but it colors them. I really would like to see the data, population and methodology.**George. The majority of my comments at 1048 were directed to you. Any reply?**I'm me. Who are you behind your hood of anonymity?

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logicsound04 6 years ago

"Logic, if you truely believe that c02 is bad, why are you silent on the current air permit renewals?? "----------------I would prefer that Westar clean up their act, although I don't know if denying renewals is the most efficient way to go about it. There is a difference between preventing a new, and yet unused power source from being built and cutting off an existing power supply. I would support any measure to get Westar's CO2 emissions reduced, including paying more. Your attempt to pigeonhole me has failed.At any rate, my comment was in response to this unfounded notion that "the will of Kansas" is to build two new plants that will not be used for Kansas power generation.This poll says otherwise:http://www2.ljworld.com/documents/2008/jan/03/polling_results_re_proposed_sunflower_holcomb_plan/

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georgeofwesternkansas 6 years ago

"These two proposals would spur economic development in western Kansas. The current proposal helps no one beyond the gates of the proposed plant and the wallets of about 50 rich Kansans."Who are the 50 Kansans??Thanks!! Good post.

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average 6 years ago

Here's what has to change about the Sunflower proposal. Kansas deserves first dibs on the power. That is, if Kansas utilities grow to have more demand than our current amount, they can get that power from the Sunflower plant. Period. As the proposal stands right now, 85% of the power generated under the Sunflower proposal is contracted, locked in, and absolutely guaranteed to go to utilities in other states. No matter Kansas' need, no matter whether we can build additional plants or not. This is unacceptable.Further than that: as a concession for us taking the plant that Colorado doesn't want to build: I propose that there be a penny a kWh surcharge on power exported, balancing a penny a kWh cost-reduction to western Kansans.These two proposals would actually spur economic development in western Kansas. The current proposal helps no one beyond the gates of the proposed plant and the wallets of about 50 rich Kansans.

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georgeofwesternkansas 6 years ago

Bozo, if your electric rates were going to reach 12 cents/kw would that just be a distraction to you??We need this generation or our rates are going through the roof. We will have among the highest rates in the country and will kill economic devlopment if we cannot generate with coal. It is very frustrating that our fellow Kansans will not in any way help us with our delema. Maybe if you could clean up your generation and pay 9 cents/kw we could build this and still reduce the c02 output of the state. Would this not be a fair comprimise??

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average 6 years ago

Here's what has to change on the Sunflower proposal. Kansas deserves first dibs on the power. That is, if Kansas utilities grow to have more demand than they currently do, they can get that power from the Sunflower plant. Period. As the proposal stands right now, 85% of the power generated at Sunflower is contracted, locked in, and absolutely guaranteed to go to utilities in other states. No matter Kansas' need.Further than that: as a concession for us taking the plant that Colorado doesn't want to build: there should be a penny a kWh surcharge on power exported, balancing a penny a kWh cost-reduction to western Kansans.These two proposals would spur economic development in western Kansas. The current proposal helps no one beyond the gates of the proposed plant and the wallets of about 50 rich Kansans.

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Ralph Reed 6 years ago

Again. Does anyone have a link to the published report? Or, is this a game of, 'I know something that you don't know, go figure it out for yourself,' as often happens here.gowk. I don't like CO2 and other pollutants (e.g.: fertilizer runoff, feedlot and hog farm runoff) any more than anyone else. I seldom complain or comment about those here because it does absolutely no good; all it does is raise my blood pressure. However, I do write my senators and representatives with my views. So please, don't make hasty generalizations. It's the same thing as someone from Western KS saying Lawrence is filled with nothing but hedonistic, elitist, over-educated, atheistic aholes. It's also the same thing as someone from Lawrence saying that people in Western KS are nothing but ignorant, uptight, bigoted, bible-thumping pr*cks.Also, your comments indicate that you seem to have more than a passing interest, perhaps even a vested financial interest in the Holcomb plants. Would you provide some information to support why building the Holcomb plants is a good thing rather than pointing fingers everywhere else? That would help discussion.*****I'm me. Who are you behind your hood of anonymity?

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Shatt 6 years ago

Another PERFECT example of the liberals taking an issue to court when they cant win at the ballot box. Now THAT is a democracy!

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

George, I'm all for shutting down the Lawrence plant ASAP. But building the Sunflower plants, which is a mistake in its own right, will have no effect on that. I've certainly never heard Sunflower or Westar even mention any potential connection between them. It's nothing but a whiny distraction.

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georgeofwesternkansas 6 years ago

If westar did not poduce so much c02 and would clean up their generation there would be nothing to bash. I like Lawrence, my daughter is planning to go to KU.

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dirkleisure 6 years ago

george and warmer have pretty much proven they don't have anything to add to a discussion on expansion of coal fired power in Kansas.Their sole agenda is apparently Lawrence-bashing. That's helpful, though. Thanks for that.

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georgeofwesternkansas 6 years ago

Logic, if you truely believe that c02 is bad, why are you silent on the current air permit renewals?? Why do you not advocate rejection of these permits??

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georgeofwesternkansas 6 years ago

"So how is building more coal plants going to help reduce the CO2 emitted by the Lawrence (or any other existing) coal plant?"You mean the Lawrence coal plant built in the 1950's that does not scrub for emitions and is among the worst in the nation? The one the customers of westar are asking the air permit be renewed so the will not get their rates increased?? Or did you mean the current Sunflower plant that is the cleanest and newest in the state.Oh by the way, did you westar customers get your permit yesterday to dump poluted water into the Kansas River from Jeffery Energy Center??

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logicsound04 6 years ago

Mr. Neufeld is apparently confusing "the will of the people of Kansas" with the will of a small but vocal minority of people who have spent thousands of dollars trying to PR-campaign their way to the coal plants--i.e. Sunflower Cooperative.The Cooper & Seacrest poll (cited by MCwzMC) clearly shows support for Bremby's denial of the plant. In fact, that particular poll was even weighted more heavily on those that live in Finney County (where Holcomb is located), so not even claims of bias towards the parts of the state that are least effected has merit.Mr. Neufeld (and the rest of his head-in-the-sand supporters) can't wrap their head around the idea that there is a difference between "the will of the people" and the personal beliefs of those who were (unfortunately) elected by the will of the people. The fact that you were elected by popular vote doesn't make your opinion synonymous with the people's will Mr. Neufeld.Why don't you go coerce someone into getting your way (if you haven't already). It seems to be what you do best.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

So how is building more coal plants going to help reduce the CO2 emitted by the Lawrence (or any other existing) coal plant?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

"The Land Institute 'poll' everyone here repeatedly cites is not-so-repected," by those who don't like the results.

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its_getting_warmer 6 years ago

This isn't just little ole Melvin Neufeld. It is almost sixty-seven percent of the legislature.The legislature is just one vote shy of 2/3. It is hard to get 2/3 of those people to agree that the sun is up.The Land Institute 'poll' everyone here repeatedly cites is not-so-repected, as it was suggested here when it was conducted. Figure it out.Meanwhile, all the daily coal belching CO2 activity going on in the Kansas is within a stones throw of Lawrence. All the re-permitting of the clean air permits for those plants is going on without a whimper from Lawrence. It's not just little ole Its_Getting_Warmer who notices the stunning hypocrisy of Lawrence... it is most of the rest of the State.

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Ralph Reed 6 years ago

I know the poll results and methodology were published, I just can't find them. Does anyone have a link to the published report?***I'm me. Who are you behind your hood of anonymity?

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logrithmic 6 years ago

The will of the people is being denied by the rightwing legislature and their "business over all of us" attitude towards poisoning the air and water and creating a warmer planet that could threaten water supplies and food.Enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

"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.No, that would be you, Neufeld. But I'm sure your checks from Big Coal are cashing just fine.

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MCwzMC 6 years ago

"The lieutenant governor's comments are another example of the governor's administration ignoring the will of the people of Kansas..." Neufeld said."Kansans support the state's recent rejection of coal-fired power plants by a 2-1 margin, according to new poll results."http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2008/jan/04/kansans_support_decision_nix_coal_plants_want_focu/I think he meant to say "the people of western kansas."There's a difference, which not surprisingly, Nefueld is too senile to understand.

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