Archive for Saturday, January 5, 2008

Rep. expects ‘huge fight’ over coal plants

January 5, 2008


— Holcomb is more than 300 miles from Leavenworth County, but Leavenworth County legislators say they won't distance themselves from the debate surrounding the proposed construction of two coal-burning electric plants in Finney County.

Four state lawmakers, Sens. Roger Pine and Mark Gilstrap and Reps. Kenny Wilk and Candy Ruff, were in Lansing on Friday for an annual pre-session breakfast with city officials. While there was plenty of talk about local issues that will be debated in the 2008 Legislature, the morning's dominant topic was Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Rod Bremby's denial in October of permits to allow construction of two 700-megawatt plants outside of Holcomb.

Wilk, R-Lansing, said the topic would be the marquee issue of the session, which begins Jan. 14.

"There's a lot riding on this, and it's not just the fact the permit was denied," he said.

Among the underlying issues, Wilk said, was the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches.

"In my view, the decision that's been made is not based upon any statutory authority. It is an arbitrary decision," Wilk said. "And the legislative branch of government has a decision to make: Do we stand by and let the executive branch make up the rules or do we reassert our power?"

Pine, R-Lawrence, distanced himself from many of his Lawrence constituents who fought against the plants on environmental grounds.

"It's hard for me to walk away from something like Holcomb when it would generate over $3 billion worth of economic development in an area that's difficult to find things to increase economic development," he said.

Ruff, D-Leavenworth, said she was on the opposite side of the fence from a fellow Democrat, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who has supported Bremby's decision.

"I tell you we're going to have a huge fight about this Holcomb plant," Ruff said. "But I'm kind of with Roger Pine on this one - you know, it ain't easy being a Democrat sometimes."

Ruff, however, said she wasn't alone among Democrats in her view of the issue.

"I'm certainly going to be supportive of whatever we can do to get that plant up and going in Holcomb, and I just want you to know a lot of Democrats in our caucus feel the same way I do," she said.


lounger 10 years, 5 months ago

"It's hard for me to walk away from something like Holcomb when it would generate over $3 billion worth of economic development in an area that's difficult to find things to increase economic development".

The medical cost of filthy old coal power pollution will far outweigh this short sighted money! Think of our grandkids. Once again this is 2008 not 1908!!! Lets stay progressive on this issue. Coal is old tech and should faide away. Wind and solar are just a few of the clean alternatives that will be used to fill the gap in Kansas. We have to be bold and brave not afraid and Brainwashed!!

hornhunter 10 years, 5 months ago

'clean alternatives that will be used to fill the gap in Kansas.'

Wind energy will also be exported to other states. This will also clutter the landscape with even less economic benefits.

lounger, afraid and brainwashed goes both ways

LogicMan 10 years, 5 months ago

"The Holcomb plants will be able to replace these very polluting plants"

No, too far. And those units will likely be synchronized to the western grid, not our eastern. But another large unit or two at Wolfcreek could.

yankeelady 10 years, 5 months ago

There is an interesting article in this month's Audubon magazine. There is a massive coal plant being fought in a wilderness area in Arkansas. The point I found fascinating is the contention that the energy companies are trying to ram through as many coal plants as possible, before Congress starts regulating CO2. They did the same thing to grandfather in older plants in 1977 before the Clean Air Act, exempting old plants because they would soon be replaced with cleaner technology. Most of the old plants weren't replaced but were used for more capacity and are still polluting. I hope we sustain the denial of the permits. There have been coal plants already denied in Texas, and other western states. It's time for Kansas to look to the future instead politics as usual.

dirkleisure 10 years, 5 months ago

I wonder, if a group of physicians stepped up to the plate with a proposal to build a $1.5 billion women's health clinic in Garden City, a place where women could go for the best reproductive care in the world, would it be so difficult for Sen. Pine to walk away?

I wonder.

yankeelady 10 years, 5 months ago

are we forgetting that the bulk of the electricity generated will go to Colorado? And neither they or Oklahoma would approve this type plant? Not to mention Colorado will be upwind from it.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 5 months ago

Beautiful Picture(farming food and energy):

It's time to cut back on fossil fuels for many reasons:

The population of Kansas would be delighted to have a greener healthier lifestyle to include green collar employment that does pay well. Wind energy will have a greater positive impact across western Kansas for western Kansas is considered a gold mine for wind energy. The economic impact will not be restricted to Holcomb but to many farm families throughout western Kansas who wish to participate. Royalties such that oil and natural gas produce will come from wind energy. This could benefit way more than the 160 employees in the Holcomb area. Wind energy could produce economic growth for many western Kansas communities.

While demonstrating that renewable energy solutions are sustainable both environmentally and economically,the aim is to enact federal and state policies that support renewable energy, reduce barriers to the adoption of renewable technologies, and encourage all energy purchasers to use renewables.

Electric utilities continue to invest in conventional coal plants despite the fact that governments are moving to restrict the heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions from such plants. The risks are both environmental and financial(high dollar).

Coal is simply no longer a healthy source for generating energy.

Go with new generation that will produce a ton of new economic growth for families throughout western Kansas rather to only the Holcomb area.

Rebuilding economies:

salad 10 years, 5 months ago

"The Holcomb plants will be able to replace these very polluting plants (Jefferies, Lawrence) and make the environment much better."

First of all, it's the "Jeffrey" Energy Center, not Jeffries, go look at the sign on the way in. Second, except for CO2, you are incorrect about pollution. Third, the Jeffrey center is state of the art, and continuously upgraded. The pollution controls alone are as big as the boiler and turbine building. Fourth, coal is here to stay. Wind and solar can never meet base load, so it's either coal or nuclear. I personally like nuclear. Fifth, the posting about energy from the proposed plant going to Colorado is correct. If we needed the power so bad, we'd just add a 4th unit at Jeffrey like it was originally designed for. It would be cheaper and less wasteful than transmitting all the way from SW KS.

salad 10 years, 5 months ago

"Third, I don't care how big the pollution buildings are, it is still a very very dirty, much polluting plant. You can not deny this" I totally deny this. In fact, it's just plain false. Obviously you're not an engineer, because you have no idea what you're talking about. 99.99% of particulates are removed, 98% of sulfur compounds, 95% of nitrous compounds, 85% of mercury compounds. What comes out the stack is water vapor and CO2. It takes exceedingly expensive and sophistocated analyzers to even detect the tiny quantities of these compounds, and if you guys didn't mind paying european prices for energy, we could install an amine stripper and remove everything, even most of the CO2.

salad 10 years, 5 months ago

Ah, so warmer, your point is that if we're gonna put all these requirements on Holcomb, we should have apply them everywhere, correct? I think that's a valid argument, and certainly the state board should be consistent. Amine strippers are a pretty amazing bit of chemical engineering. It's like magic how they can remove H2S & CO2, but they're crazy expensive. : (

lounger 10 years, 5 months ago

Hornhunter you are brainwashed as well I guess...

speedykitty 10 years, 5 months ago

americorps says: ...our democratic review process has denied it. More appropriate to say "our Democrat review process has denied it!" CO2 is not illegal, the professionals in the department did not recommend denying the permit. Don't forget, CO2 is part of our own human respiration cycle.

Centerville 10 years, 5 months ago

This is all moot. Sebilieus is already making noises about telling her gofers to allow a plant in SW KS, after she realized that the headlines she expected weren't the ones she got.

Dwight_Schrute 10 years, 5 months ago

speedykitty - you are correct. And those professionals that did not recommend denying the permit have been terminated. So have many at the KCC for the same reason. Sort of interesting, isn't it?

Centerville - don't be too sure. Gov. Kathy will be given some type of top energy position in the Democrat Presidential administration...just watch. Allowing the plant won't bode well for her national aspirations.

Warmer is correct. This is about CO2 - even though there is a larger carbon footprint coming from the posters on this website than Holcomb would output...

hornhunter 10 years, 5 months ago

NO, just more realistic and knowledgeable in the power industry then thou.

Left_handed 10 years, 4 months ago

Antropocentric global warming as the result of carbon dioxide is not the "fact" that many tree huggers state that it is. The "science" that it's based on is more religion than science. Kind of like "molecules to man evolution", which is also based on faith rather than science.

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