Coal-burning power plants
- June 1 deadline set for coal plants (02-19-08)
- Kansas House OKs coal plant bill; final approval set for Tuesday (02-18-08)
- Lawrence legislator upset over deal between KSU-Sunflower plant developers (02-18-08)
- Senate OKs proposal to allow coal plants (02-15-08)
- Coal-fired plants advance in Senate (02-14-08)
Topeka In the fight over proposed coal-fired plants in western Kansas, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said she wants a compromise, but not one "tailored to a single company."
Her message was delivered in a letter to House members who voted this week against a bill that would allow Sunflower Electric Power Corp. to build two 700-megawatt, $3.6 billion plants near Holcomb.
The House approved the bill 77-45, but fell seven votes short of the two-thirds majority of 84 in the 125-member House that would be needed to overturn a veto from Sebelius.
Last year, Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Roderick Bremby rejected the coal-burning plants, citing health and environmental concerns about the project's 11 million tons per year of carbon dioxide emissions.
Legislative leaders have vowed to reverse Bremby's decision and have pushed through bills that would allow the plants and strip Bremby of his authority. The measures are now in a House-Senate conference committee, which will start meeting Monday.
In her letter to House members voting against the bill, Sebelius said she was "proud to stand with you as good stewards of our environment looking for a more balanced approach than the legislation which came to the House floor."
She added, "I am eager to have a thoughtful discussion about long-term energy policy; not tailored to a single company, but setting a series of guidelines and goals through which all parties can compete."
Sebelius has offered to support construction of one of the plants, saying that would take care of current and future electric needs in western Kansas.
Under the two plants proposed by Sunflower Electric, approximately 85 percent of the electricity would be used by out-of-state customers.
Sunflower Electric officials have said the project must have both plants.
Under the deal, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association of Colorado would own one plant, while Tri-State, Sunflower Electric, and Texas-based Golden Spread Electric Cooperative would own the other one.
Sunflower Electric would receive $95 million in development fees from other companies in the project.
"These upfront payments provide for the equity necessary for Sunflower's 200 megawatt portion of the plant, which will cost a total of about $540 million," said Sunflower president and chief executive officer Earl Watkins Jr.