Letters to the Editor

Complex issue

February 6, 2008


To the editor,

Last Thursday night's standing room only sustainability forum "Focus the Nation" at the Dole Institute of Politics was very informative. Though I thought I understood climate change and alternative energy issues, it is far more complicated and urgent than I knew. Much discussion regarded the Holcomb coal plants, whose permits were recently declined by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

This week in Topeka, representatives from western Kansas are "fast tracking" legislation that will make it open season on coal plant building in the state of Kansas. Not only will this bill override the KDHE ruling so that construction on proposed plants can begin, it will also loosen standards to such an extent that companies from states where new coal plants are not being allowed will actually have an incentive to come here, effectively making Kansas, as Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson said, the Yucca Mountain of coal plants.

It is understandable that residents of western Kansas want cheaper energy and new jobs. But it is also obvious that the dangerous and inhumane conditions for workers and the negative impact on the health of the entire planet make coal plants an antiquated energy source. It is the responsibility of the estimated two-thirds of Kansans who oppose new coal plants to offer healthy and profitable alternatives to our western neighbors so we can all prosper.

It's a complex issue that deserves much more than one week of discussion in Topeka.

Amy Albright,

Baldwin City


Weezy_Jefferson 10 years, 4 months ago

As always, right_thinker, your leftist-conspiracy comments strike my funny bone. Thanks for the early-morning chuckle!

Richard Heckler 10 years, 4 months ago

Thank you Amy Albright for offering some clear thinking on this issue. You are a breath of fresh air.

Corey Williams 10 years, 4 months ago

Wow, right_thinker. You say it like it's a bad thing.

I'd say that we should let the markets decide. And with the top three lenders putting a hold on loans toward construction of new coal power plants...I think it has.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 4 months ago

Wind energy is cleaner and less expensive than coal,clean coal or nukes therefore the ratepayers and taxpayers would rather go with the most practical and frugal choice. We would expect our elected officials to place cost to rate payers and the environment above all else.

Wind energy pays back in 4 months to a year. Neither nuke nor coal can produce that efficient a payback. Wind is a best bang for the rate payer and environmental buck.

Wind,Solar,BioMass and Hydropower create more jobs and economic growth for farmers and the entire state of Kansas. These sources are available to the state of Kansas as we speak. I would like to think the objectives of the legislature would be the least expensive sources of energy, the cleanest sources of energy and jobs/economic growth for the entire state of Kansas. An energy team comprised of wind,solar,hydropower and biomass will accomplish exactly that goal. In essence this discussion is about creating a new industry for the entire state of Kansas. This new industry is cleaning up our energy sources yet spawning jobs, economic growth and tax revenue for the state cookie jar which in turn could assist in funding the education of Kansans no matter what ages. Educated Kansans are good for business and our employers.

In addition to solar,wind,biomass and hydro power Kansans can include energy efficient practices at home and in business as a means to reduce demand for energy. At a recent home and energy fair Westar Associates said to me Kansas does not need more energy. Kansas needs to support cleaner sources and reduce demand through conservation practices at home and in business.

Believe me if the same coal salesman were peddling wind,hydropower,biomass and solar they would be painting coal and nuke power as members of the axis of evil.

An energy expert at the University of Manitoba, has estimated that capturing and burying just 10 percent of the carbon dioxide emitted over a year from coal-fire plants at current rates would require moving volumes of compressed carbon dioxide greater than the total annual flow of oil worldwide - a massive undertaking requiring decades and trillions of dollars. "Beware of the scale," he stressed.

So what we have before us is an excellent opportunity to bring in a new energy industry. This new energy industry will breed jobs,economic growth,tax revenue and cleaner energy for the entire state of Kansas which as I stated might should be the primary objective .

I urge a no vote on either SB 515 or HB 2711 in order to provide more time to ponder an issue of such great importance.

devobrun 10 years, 4 months ago

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." H. L. Mencken

"Each period is dominated by a mood, with the result that most men fail to see the tyrant who rules over them." Einstein in 1938 communication to Maurice Solovan

This period's tyrant (hobgoblin) is Green.

jafs 10 years, 4 months ago

If we all reduced our energy use, we could reduce our costs, reduce our pollution of the planet, and reduce the need for new energy sources.

LogicMan 10 years, 4 months ago

"But it is also obvious that the dangerous and inhumane conditions for workers"

Welcome to the real world, Amy. It is a dangerous and sometimes inhumane place.

Safety is typically the highest priority of workers in industrial facilities here in the U.S. Powerplants have many hazards, but the workers are well-trained and equipped. Major accidents do occasionally happen, including here at the Lawrence plant, but fortunately they are rare.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 4 months ago

"Richard, how is it you think you speak for the majority of people?"

Fair question.

Unlike yourself and a few other posters most people do not want to pay for expensive energy sources that are plagued with large cost overruns and pollution taxes attached to coal aka carbon taxes that are written into these bills. It all shows up on the electric bills. Nuclear energy has identical complications.

Financing problems may also play a part in this fiasco cuz these coal plants cost a small fortune which comes back to the ratepayers.

According to what one republican who sits on the energy committee told me this afternoon the no tax ever lobby is coming out against these coal plants. He also said the legislators likely do not have the authority to veto Rod Bremby's veto.

Your pals in the deregulated energy business seldom level with ratepayers/taxpayers. All they want is your money and they do not give a damn how they go about it. As we speak these coal people are running expensive radio and TV ads pushing their drug which again will be added to your electric bills.

Thagan 10 years, 4 months ago

Let's build wind farms instead. We can have jobs and clean energy too. Geez, Washington D.C. and it's lobbyists have landed in Kansas. Go away. Hang in there governor, stand for Kansans!

Thagan 10 years, 4 months ago

President Bush sent them here. I've an idea. Build the coal plants on his ranch in Texas. Brilliant!

LeviCircle 10 years, 4 months ago

"It is the responsibility of...Kansans who oppose new coal plants to offer healthy and profitable alternatives to our western neighbors so we can all prosper."

Yep...and, 'til you can do that, we'll be burnin' coal! Wind can only be a "helper", not a steady source, plus it's more expensive. Geothermal? Not today, not tomorrow... Nuclear? Yep, I'm sure you're anxious to build THOSE plants.

So, until that responsibility brings forth fruit, the real world goes on...and it needs power...and it's going to get power.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 4 months ago

FYI- If a jump in your electric bill has occured it might be the big screen.


RedwoodCoast 10 years, 4 months ago

right_thinker (Anonymous) says:

This is Democratic Socialist dogma that is among many other things, intended to be used as the underpinnings of the pro-abortion crowd.

Pro-abortion????? Wow, can I see a slo-mo of those mental gymnastics? RT, yes I do like fish, but red herring is not my favorite. Stick to the issue's RT. I understand that you do not agree with the pro-choice crowd, but I'm failing to see the connection between coal plant legislation and abortion.

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