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Poll: Kansans support rejection of coal-fired plants

Respondents also interested in more work on wind energy

January 3, 2008, 10:41 a.m. Updated January 3, 2008, 3:06 p.m.


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.

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BigDog 9 years, 8 months ago

Given some of the statements in this article, it would be interesting to see the actual survey to find out how the various questions were worded. As anyone with research or survey experience knows ...... you can alter the answer you get to most questions based on how you word a question.

63BC 9 years, 8 months ago

That's Sebelius' campaign pollster. Paid for out of tax-exempt dollars. Cute.

BigDog 9 years, 8 months ago

And I would also like to know who paid for these various surveys.

JayhawkAlum03 9 years, 8 months ago

I may be completely misinformed (I haven't followed this very closely), but wasn't the construction of these plants going to help provide some of the infrastructure necessary to increase the use wind energy as well? My understanding is that the expensive issue and problem with wind is the ability to transport the energy from where the wind power is generated and there would have been the possibility to "piggy-back" on the coal plants' transmission lines since this doesn't currently exist in that area.

At the rate that we seem to be demanding electric energy, I'm not sure we don't need both just to remain above water and keep everything plugged in.

If someone more about what I mentioned above, I'd appreciate the education!

dirkleisure 9 years, 8 months ago

The only source claiming the transmission lines needed for wind energy won't exist without the coal plant is Sunflower.

So it could be said that, yes, no coal plant = no transmission lines.

However, that argument is challenged by several other sources. So, it comes down to do you believe Sunflower, or do you believe everyone else?

bettie 9 years, 8 months ago

who paid for the poll? the land institute, says the story. and please, 63BC, don't try to make it sound like something fishy is going on because cooper secrest, one of the top pollsters in the nation, did this poll and also polled for sebelius. all kinds of candidates and organizations use them because they've got a good reputation.

stuckinthemiddle 9 years, 8 months ago

~chuckle~ wondering what unbiased source its_getting_warmer got it's information from...

BigDog 9 years, 8 months ago


In looking at Cooper and Seacrest more closely you will find campaign contributions from them in Kansas only to the Democratic State Party.

WilburM 9 years, 8 months ago

Cooper and Secrest is indeed Gov. Sebelius's polling firm. It is also a "Democratic" firm, in that it polls largely for Democratic politicians across the country.

That said, C+S does not engage in push polling. Rather, it has BY FAR the greatest contemporary expertise in doing first-class survey research in Kansas. These are very believable numbers. Indeed, the governor and Sec. Bremby may well have had access to similar numbers when the Sunflower decision was made.

All KS pols should take these numbers seriously as they go forward in designing a 21st Century set of energy programs for Kansas.

BigDog 9 years, 8 months ago

Cooper and Secrest Associates Inc.

Private Company, Headquarters Location Alexandria, VA 22314 United States (703) 683-7990 , (703)739-0079 fax

Company Description: Services: Political consulting firm which specializes in public opinion polls for Democratic candidates. Firm also does polling work for non-candidates, such as associations and lobbying organizations.

dirkleisure 9 years, 8 months ago

Well then, based on the poll it looks as though Democrats are on the right side of this issue.

I think that is the real fear, and the real reason so much attention is being drawn to Cooper and Secrest's business portfolio.

BigDog 9 years, 8 months ago

That said, C+S does not engage in push polling. Rather, it has BY FAR the greatest contemporary expertise in doing first-class survey research in Kansas.

Based upon?

BigDog 9 years, 8 months ago

Well then, based on the poll it looks as though Democrats are on the right side of this issue.

If I recall correctly there were Democratic legislators from that portion of the state who didn't support Governor Sebelius, I mean Secretary Bremby, on this issue.

Ken Lassman 9 years, 8 months ago

Interesting that there's so much gnashing of teeth about who the pollster is, and nothing about the accuracy of the poll itself. Kinda like killing the messenger of the news? Looking at the poll itself (thank you JW for including it as a downloadable pdf attachment to the article), I see nothing that merits the accusation that this is a poorly worded survey, or that it attempts to skew the results in any way. I hope that those blind boosters of the coal plant wake up and start representing the will of the people of Kansas, which is coming through loud and clear in this survey.

I also hope that the Republican senators from our state look into a little bipartisan support of Sen. Reid's bill that supports spending federal dollars to improve transmission lines without building coal fired plants. That kind of investment in Western Kansas would be the kind of investment that the entire state would get behind.

lounger 9 years, 8 months ago

Did you read this west star? 2 to 1 margin! Use your heads and keep filthy coal out-get off of your lazy a*s and work on some fresh clean technology!!! Its 2008 not 1908!!!

a_flock_of_jayhawks 9 years, 8 months ago

gl0ck0wnr writes, 'I'm curious. How much of your own money have you invested in companies that explore clean technology? Given your rant, I'd assume you've invested some of your own money into companies researching "fresh clean technology."'

Doesn't do much good when you have an administration that devises their energy policy with the energy industry in secret.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 9 years, 8 months ago

its_getting_warmer writes, "If you like push-polling."

Either you didn't review the poll or you don't understand what the definition of a push poll is. It was not a push poll.

penguin 9 years, 8 months ago

you have to be kidding about the spot by Ellsworth being the most beautiful part of the drive. I am usually just concerned about the notorious speed trap that exists near these exits. However, now I have something great to look at. As a native Western Kansan, this area is now the most beautiful part of my drive. Along my drive home this Christmas I saw those wonderful towers being built and smiled. Now if only the crazies in Ellis County would get on board.

The problem is Nuclear is first of all still not renewable. The claims that it is virtually the same are bunk. Also even if you reduce the waste and half life by still have some pretty nasty radioactive waster. Where do you put it? Every type of nuclear (Cold Water, Breeder, etc.) has major drawbacks, which do not solve our energy issues.

At the same time, wind will not solve all of our problems either, but it is a good start. Remember either of these solutions only solves for electric power generation, but again this is a step in a positive direction.

Logan5 9 years, 8 months ago

Despite committments from our governor, there are still major obstacles to wind and solar power in Kansas. Currently 42 states offer net metering regulations that require electric utilities to charge (individuals with small energy producing systems) only for the net amount of electricity they use. In other words, any surplus power an individual generates with their windmill or solar cells is sold back to the utility at the same price and their bill would reflect only the net amount of power used.

Kansas is one of the 8 states that DO NOT offer net metering along with Alaska, Nebraska, South Dakota, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina. As solar starts to become cost effective over the next few years, it will be important to allow net metering. Check out

Individual power production like solar greatly reduces the need for large expenditures in power transmission lines as well as power plants. Affordable solar power may be just around the corner.

lounger 9 years, 8 months ago

Glockownr- What are you talking about? I wouldnt invest in the current stock market because it is not based in reality. I have invested in a chunk of the flint hills for preservation-what have you contributed friend???

dizzy_from_your_spin 9 years, 8 months ago

Funny. How did the 20% of the population west of US-81 vote compared to the 80% of the population east of US-81? Think the results would be different if the issue directly affected the eastern 80%?

hornhunter 9 years, 8 months ago

If the resident population of Kansas in 2005 was 2,744,687 how could a poll of 1000 people even be close to being accurate?

cool, Coal Combustion Waste - the untold story of what happens with the tons of solid waste & fly ash !

it goes into your watershed ! folks. That is possibly just that plant. A large amount of power plants sell off bottom ash and fly ash for road construction. Either as a base material, shoulder material and an additive for concrete. So as far as it going into your watersheds, try again. Don't make it sound that bad!

optimist 9 years, 8 months ago

Anytime the survey fails to provide the specific question(s) asked of the participants I question the survey. Surveys have become a great political tool for manipulation of the electorate.

In this case elected officials violated the public trust "equal protection under the law" by denying this plant. By creating criteria on the fly that was the sole reason for the denial the rules are a moving target and therefore the government has no limits.

hornhunter 9 years, 8 months ago

R C, The science of polling is just like any other science, custom made to fit. And as far as being embarrassed, no I'm not, you should be for allowing this kind of polling SCIENCE to take place.

dirkleisure 9 years, 8 months ago

Yes, science is all smoke and mirrors.

Faith is the only thing that is real. I have faith more Kansans want more coal plants.

Logan5 9 years, 8 months ago

hornhunter says:

"The science of polling is just like any other science, custom made to fit."

If you really believe that, you should turn in your computer and your car and live in a cave. The science that made these items possible obviously cannot be trusted.

Bradley Kemp 9 years, 8 months ago

Hornhunter says that "as far as being embarrassed, no I'm not."

But you should be. You obviously know nothing about scientific sampling.

hornhunter 9 years, 8 months ago

Logan5 (Anonymous) says:

Gravity is also a theory, as is nearly all science. Yet this does not cause me to worry about tethering myself to my desk. Not all theories are true, just think of how many tried theories can't be proven.

And who do I turn my things into Logan, the scientific polling police? (DA)

KansasMeadowlark 9 years, 8 months ago

Kansas Democratic Party Pollsters from DC Find Kansans Reject Coal-Fired Plants

Shouldn't Kansas newspapers mention the political leanings of the polling company, Cooper & Secrest? Do hundreds of thousands of dollars from Kansas Democrats over more than a decade affect Cooper & Secrest's fairness?

Jason Bowers-Chaika 9 years, 8 months ago

I appreciate the need to keep some areas natural and free of windmills. I do believe in the need for solar and wind energy development. I visualize a turbine on top of every tall building on KU campus. Two ontop of Frazier where the flags are. There would be little if any need for transmission lines. Just imagine solar panels on top of Wescoe Hall and other expansive rooftops. We already have the space and the built in infrastructure. KU is the perfect place to show the rest of the state how it can be done. Any Engineering students out there?

dirkleisure 9 years, 8 months ago

Meadowlark, the day you do the same analysis of a poll by the Kansas Chamber, conducted by Cole/Hargraves, is the day your thoughts about Cooper & Secrest will have merit.

Pollsters almost exclusively do work for one political party or another when they are polling for campaigns.

Your "analysis" is sad and pathetic, because you refuse to turn the same laser like focus on your pals. If the media will take the time to debunk the next Cole/Hargraves nonsense foisted on us by Americans For Prosperity or Flint Hills Institute or whatever Koch funded shadow org releases one, then I will join you in your concerns.

Until then, grow up.

deskboy04 9 years, 8 months ago

Electricity allows me to cool my home, watch tv, read at night, and post on this webpage! I know that it comes at a cost to the envronment. What amazes me is that liberals don't understand that they use electricity too.

BigDog 9 years, 8 months ago

Aquifer depletion??? Air polution????

Isn't that what these alternative fuels like ethanol are doing in their refining process???

Why no fuss about the negative impact of CO2 released by these plants????

etsi_truss 9 years, 8 months ago

" to aquifer depletion, air pollution, ground pollution, and crop pollution, and acid rain deposition on the western mississippi forest lands of missouri & the ozarks !"

And Western Kansas enjoyed a record Harvest this year!!!!!!! Hmm

BigPrune 9 years, 8 months ago

A poll taken by an environmental group should be impartial right?

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