Archive for Friday, February 1, 2008

Sebelius criticizes coal-plant legislation

Bills would put Kansans at risk and boost C02, she says

February 1, 2008


— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Thursday criticized legislation to build two coal-burning power plants, saying the proposals would put Kansans "at risk."

And Sebelius said that she offered plant developers - Sunflower Electric Power Corp. - her support for construction of a smaller coal-fired plant, but was refused.

The development came as legislative leaders sought support for bills that would allow Sunflower Electric to build two 700-megawatt plants in southwestern Kansas.

In response to Sebelius' statements, Sunflower Electric spokesman Steve Miller said, "We're hopeful that a resolution can be reached that is in the best interests of Kansans, and we remain committed to further discussions with the governor's staff and the Legislature."

He declined to comment further.

In October, the Sebelius administration rejected the two plants, citing concerns about carbon dioxide emissions and global warming.

Supporters of the plants pushed back, introducing bills aimed at allowing construction of the two plants, while also establishing what they said would be unprecedented limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

"This is the result of a lot of legislative work and compromise," House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, said of the bills. "It's actually for the best of Kansas and to move us forward in the future," he said.

But on Thursday, Sebelius issued a lengthy news release criticizing the legislation.

She said if the bills became law they would increase CO2 emissions.

"It will not result in a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. If anything, it appears to be an attempt to mislead Kansans that significant action would be taken," Sebelius said.

She said the legislation would allow any coal-powered plant to be built in Kansas "whether Kansas needed energy or not."

She added: "All the coal plants that have been denied permits or withdrawn applications in other states would be knocking at our door."

And she added that one part of the legislation "puts our citizens at risk" because it would prevent the Kansas Department of Health and Environment from taking actions to protect health in the absence of federal rules.

Sebelius said that she was concerned about the electric needs of western Kansas.

She said she offered Sunflower her support of a 660 megawatt coal-fired plant, similar to one that the company proposed in 2001, to address western Kansas electric needs. Under the Sunflower proposal, most of the power from the two plants would have been sold to out-of-state customers.

But her offer was rejected, she said. It also would have required more commitment to wind power, energy efficiency and implementation of technology to reduce emissions.


Richard Heckler 10 years ago

In the first place no state necessarily needs more energy. Each state needs to clean up its' energy sources which will create thousands of jobs for the long term.

Farming food and energy:

It's time to cut back on fossil fuels for many reasons:

The entire population of Kansas would be delighted to have green collar employment that pays well. Wind ,solar and new hydro energy will have a greater positive economic impact across western Kansas. Western Kansas is considered a gold mine for wind energy. The economic growth would not be restricted to Holcomb but to many farm families throughout western Kansas who wish to participate. Royalties such that oil and natural gas produce will come from wind energy. This will benefit thousands rather than only 160 employees in the Holcomb area. Wind energy would produce economic growth for many more western Kansas communities.

Electric utilities continue to invest in conventional coal plants despite the fact that governments are moving to restrict the heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions from such plants. The risks are both environmental and financial(high dollar).

Coal is simply no longer a healthy source for generating energy.

Go with new generation that will produce a ton of new economic growth for families throughout western Kansas .

Rebuilding several local economies makes more dollars and sense:

BigPrune 10 years ago

Sebelius should stop pandering to the environmentalists and their belief in the unscientific theory that man causes global warming. If she had an open mind, she would be a good leader

Lindsey Buscher 10 years ago

IdiotPrune, If Sibelius should stop "pandering to the environmentalists" then the Senate President and Majority leaders in Kansas should stop "pandering to SW Kansas" to try to get the previous decision reversed. The good citizens of SW Kansas need energy, in particular affordable energy, and the congressmen who represent them are the ones proposing this bill.

Furthermore, the two plants are simply being built in the hopes that they will then be able to build a third plant. The first two plants are to support economic development in Colorado. However, there are options other than coal to meet the energy demand in Kansas, and we need to take care of our own first before selling to Colorado.

I notice Merrill posting links to back up his arguments, you got anything to back up your arguments? A single piece of evidence? Or are you just pissed that a Democrat gets so much credit and good pub for running your precious little red state?

At least the legislature is going to ATTEMPT to come to a bi-partisan agreement, and hopefully it will be by upholding the previous denial.

snowWI 10 years ago

Also, the Carbon Tax of $3 a ton is MUCH to low. I am sure Sunflower approved of that ridiculously low number. I agree that Kansas could become a dumping ground for other potential power plants that have been rejected in other states. Colorado has the RPS standard as well as other states. They would not allow a coal plant of this magnitude to be constructed there. I agree with most of the statements made by Governor Sebeilus.

snowWI 10 years ago

"Sebelius should stop pandering to the environmentalists and their belief in the unscientific theory that man causes global warming. If she had an open mind, she would be a good leader."

Wrong. A scientifc consensus has said that global average temperatures have increased, and humans are likely responsible for some of the warming. Global average temperatures have risen 1F in the past century while CO2 concentrations exponentially uincreased. It is better to embrace alternative energy sources than to continue the "business as usual" approach with regards to CO2 emissions. We have to do what we can considering the developing world is building coal plants like crazy.

snowWI 10 years ago

"I had presumed that sides were closer together on this proposal. Sounds like legislative leadership will look around for 2/3, and if they don't find it, back up and try a Plan B."

The compromise made by Sebeilus made good sense, but was rejected. The carbon tax is too low, and too much of the electrcity will still be sold out of state.

"And Sebelius said that she offered plant developers - Sunflower Electric Power Corp. - her support for construction of a smaller coal-fired plant, but was refused."

snowWI 10 years ago

igw, What do you think of the The Sebelius offer that was refused? Also, do you agree that the potential carbon tax of $3 a ton is too low?

Bill Griffith 10 years ago

The Sebelius offer was refused because Tri-State is the money behind the project and they want 1000 MW of the power. Any less and Tri-State and the cash walk away. Sunflower only needs around 180 MW of power over the next 5-10 years for their own customers. This is an economic development issue not a power problem in w. Kansas. That being said, the folks in w. Kansas are paying way to much for electricity due to Sunflower using old gas-fired boilers to make electrictiy. Sunflower has never done energy efficiency for their customers and has only tepidly dipped into the wind market. Of course, that may be because they are members of the Western Fuels Association, a coal consortium.

snowWI 10 years ago

I guess its_getting_warmer is not going to comment on the questions I posed.

belexus73, I like your well-reasoned posts.

Bill Griffith 10 years ago

BigPrune, I can see you are a person who values science and rational thought rather than the scaremongerers that lurk in cyberspace and reality. You mention that you do not believe in global warming. I would assume that the science has not convinced you up to this point. Let me ask you this, "What scientific data do you need to see or what scientists or individuals do you need to hear discuss the merits of the data in order for you to be convinced about climate change?" Or, will you never be convinced it is happening or that it is a problem?

snowWI 10 years ago

"She said if the bills became law they would increase CO2 emissions."

That is obvious. The coal plants are still using pulverized technology without the ability to capture and sequester CO2. Colorado does not want the plant, and they have the Renewable Portolio Standard in place. Kansas continues to fall behind in wind energy development. Iowa is one of the leaders in supporting wind energy.

preebo 10 years ago

Colorado doesn't want the plants, but Excel Energy ( the largest energy provider in Colorado) does wan't the plants. Colorado has an Amendment to the State Constitution that requires new production of energy by renewable means, so having the plants in Western Kansas absolves Excel of any Colorado violations and provides cheaper energy, which increases profit. It's as simple as that.

lounger 10 years ago

Bigprune- You sound like and Idiot. No one with half a brain can deny global warming. Sorry about the harsh words gotta call them like you see them.

snowWI 10 years ago

its_getting_warmer (Anonymous) says "I do think that any aggressive CO2 regulation must be national in tenor, preventing uneven playing fields in different states."

I think national regulation with respect to CO2 will be coming in the near future. All pulverized coal plants will be impacted in some manner.

oldgoof 10 years ago

I wish parts of my house would have had a little more global warming going on this last month. Maybe we can all move to Arizona to decrease energy needs.

snowWI 10 years ago

"I wish parts of my house would have had a little more global warming going on this last month. Maybe we can all move to Arizona to decrease energy needs."

Electricity costs for cooling your house in the summer there are very high. I can't even imagine how much electricity Arizona consumes because of the air conditioners going full blast in the summer. Another thing to remember is that Phoneix hardly ever cools off in the summer because they have a huge urban heat island. Expect low tempertures of around 90-95F in July.

Kansas does not have cold winters at all compared with the Midwest. Iowa and areas further north and east have had low temperatures colder than -20F so far this month.

snowWI 10 years ago

preebo, That is an excellent point.

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