Topeka Environmentalists on Tuesday praised a Georgia court's decision to invalidate a permit for a coal-fired power plant, saying the ruling represented a crucial follow up to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' veto of a huge coal-burning project in Kansas.
"This decision mirrors the current momentum in Kansas, which is embracing clean, renewable forms of energy," said, Stephanie Cole, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Sierra Club.
"There is growing recognition that carbon dioxide is harmful and will impact our future. Coal plants will now be more accountable for their pollutants," Cole said.
On Monday, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore reversed an air permit for a 1,200 megawatt coal-burning power plant. She said the Georgia permitting agency should have considered the effects of carbon dioxide emissions, a greenhouse gas blamed for climate change.
In April 2007 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling recognizing that carbon dioxide is a pollutant under the federal Clean Air Act. The Georgia decision represents the first time any court has applied that ruling to an industrial source, environmentalists said.
"Coal-fired power plants emit more than 30 percent of our nation's global warming pollution," said Bruce Nilles, director of the Sierra Club's National Coal Campaign. "Thanks to this decision, coal plants across the country will be forced to live up to their clean coal rhetoric."
He said the ruling will have far reaching effects and should influence permits for all new coal-fired power plants.
The Georgia decision halts the construction of Dynegy's Longleaf coal-fired power plant..
In Kansas, officials are battling over a proposal to build two 700-megawatt coal-burning plants in southwestern Kansas. Sebelius has vetoed legislation that would require construction of the plants, citing environmental concerns.