Poll: Kansans support rejection of coal-fired plants

Respondents also interested in more work on wind energy

Kansans support the state’s recent rejection of two coal-fired power plants by a two-to-one margin, according to a poll released today.

In addition, three out of four Kansans want the state to increase its commitment to wind-powered energy, according to the poll conducted on behalf of The Land Institute, a Salina-based organization that focuses on renewable forms of energy and agriculture.

On Oct. 18, Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Roderick Bremby rejected the plants in western Kansas proposed by Sunflower Electric Power Corp., citing concerns about carbon dioxide emissions and global warming.

The poll, done in November by Cooper and Secrest Associates of Alexandria, Va., showed that 62 percent of Kansans support Bremby’s decision and 31 percent oppose it.

“The simple fact is that a healthy majority of Kansas voters endorse the decision by KDHE to block construction of these two Sunflower plants,” the pollsters said.

More than 1,000 people were surveyed, including an oversample in the 1st congressional district, which would have been the site of the plants.

Even in the 1st congressional district, KDHE’s decision was supported 51 percent to 40 percent with 9 percent unsure.

The largest margin of support was in the 3rd congressional district, which includes east Lawrence, at 70 percent. The second district, which includes west Lawrence, and fourth district, which includes Wichita, both were at 62 percent support.

Pollsters also concluded that the margin of support showed that Kansans want the Legislature to “get on with the critical issues and opportunities they have yet to address, rather than revisit a decision that the majority of Kansans favor.”

Sunflower and its co-developers have appealed the KDHE decision to the Kansas Supreme Court, and state legislative leaders have vowed to try to overturn Bremby’s ruling in the legislative session that starts Jan. 14.