Archive for Monday, February 18, 2008

Kansas House OKs coal plant bill; final approval set for Tuesday

February 18, 2008


A bill allowing two coal-fired power plants in southwest Kansas won first-round approval Monday in the House after members rejected proposed limits on carbon dioxide emissions.

The vote to advance the bill was 73-45. House members planned to take final action Tuesday, when approval would send the measure to the Senate.

The vote Monday suggested that supporters of the coal-fired plants don't have enough support to overcome a potential veto by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. To override a veto, they'd need a two-thirds majority, or 84 of 125 votes.

Rep. Pat Colloton, a Leawood Republican, proposed imposing rules on utilities that build new power plants. They would have either had to have limited CO2 from their new plants; reduced emissions from other, existing plants, or invested in conservation programs or wind farms and other renewable resources.

The vote was 66-49 against her proposal.

Colloton offered her proposal as an amendment to a bill that would permit Sunflower Electric Power Corp. to build the two coal-fired plants outside Holcomb in Finney County. The $3.6 billion project has been blocked since October by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' administration because of the plants' potential CO2 emissions, linked by many scientists to global warming.

"It's just a basic statement that we ought to mitigate additional carbon dioxide," Colloton said.

But many legislators oppose enacting what would be the state's first standards for CO2 emissions. The bill, as originally drafted, contained some rules but the House Energy and Utilities Committee stripped them out.

Opponents of such rules contend emissions standards should be left to the federal government, so that there's a uniform nationwide policy. They said Kansas would be at a competitive disadvantage and discourage business growth if it imposed its own regulations.

Some also argued that the link between manmade CO2 emissions and climate change hasn't been established strongly enough to warrant such action.

"I think people are beginning to discover that this is not settled science, and that's the point," said Rep. Forrest Knox, an Altoona Republican. "I think the tide is shifting."

The Senate already has approved its own bill, without any CO2 standards.

In the House, some members believe that if supporters of the Sunflower project were going to garner a two-thirds majority, the chamber would have to include some "green" provisions.

The bill would require all utilities to invest in renewable resources, such as wind. They'd have to generate 5 percent of their electricity from renewable resources by 2012 and 10 percent by 2020.

The Energy and Utilities Committee originally included higher percentages but tied them to a utility's overall generating capacity. The House voted to rewrite the provisions after members said the new language actually would be stricter.


georgeofwesternkansas 10 years, 3 months ago

10 more votes and it will be veto proof. This is a done deal.

overthemoon 10 years, 3 months ago

"Opponents of such rules contend emissions standards should be left to the federal government, so that there's a uniform nationwide policy."

This is very funny, considering the fed's (led by Cheney's secret energy dukes) won't do anything to hurt their own businesses....

nobody1793 10 years, 3 months ago

So when the EPA starts regulating CO2 (as directed by the recent supreme court ruling) will these plants be exempt due to grandfathering? Is that the reason for the urgency?

TNPlates 10 years, 3 months ago

overthemoon - Exactly the point

nobodyindependence+17 - that is the sense of urgency. That's why, 18 months ago, there were dozens (100+?) coal units proposed. The fear in some states is that they won't be grandfathered, and therefore, the costs will go up substantially. (New coal + carbon tax = not necessarily the cheapest new power source). So the majority of those proposed plants have been scrapped or denied on the first go around.

Bill Griffith 10 years, 3 months ago

As far as grandfathering, there was a press conference held by United State Senators Boxer and Bingaman (committee chairs) last summer and they specifically said that they would not allow any grandfathering of coal plants at all. Given that the Senate will in all probability remain in Democrats hands (and probably have even more Democrats), this seems to strongly point to Sunflower's proposed facility as being affected by carbon legislation on the federal level.

Bill Griffith 10 years, 3 months ago

George, I am puzzled how you feel this is a done deal when 10 more votes are needed. Can you describe the process/tactics that will be done to acquire these votes? I am assuming the other side is going to be working on this as well. Thanks.

jayhawklawrence 10 years, 3 months ago

I suppose when CO2 is regulated, the idiots will figure out another way to screw up the environment.

You can't fix stupid.

I'm glad Neufeld and his friends feel they are being well paid.

Looks like another mess for our children to thank us for.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 3 months ago

The high dollar coal plants may have difficulty being financed. Such that put a stop to nuke plants.

Ratepayers get screwed big time on high dollar energy plants.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.