Archive for Friday, May 2, 2008

Sebelius’ coal veto stands

Lawmakers fall short in override attempt

May 2, 2008


Sebelius' veto stands

Out of the Statehouse tonight: supporters of two coal-fired power plants fail to override Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' veto of a bill allowing their construction. Enlarge video

State Rep. Paul Davis talks about coal plants

State Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, who opposes the construction of two coal-fired plants in western Kansas, talks about the House failure to override Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' veto.

State Rep. Tom Sloan talks about coal plants

State Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, who supports the two 700-megwatt coal-fired plants, talks about the project and the House's failure to override Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' veto.

How they voted

Among local legislators voting to support Sebelius' veto were Reps. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, and Ann Mah, D-Topeka.

Those voting to override Sebelius' veto were Reps. Anthony Brown, R-Eudora, Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, Lee Tafanelli, R-Ozawkie, and Kenny Wilk, R-Lansing.

— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' veto of two coal-fired power plants survived a furious charge from legislative leaders on Thursday.

In a dramatic showdown, the Kansas House voted 80-45, falling four votes short of the required two-thirds majority needed in the 125-member chamber to override the veto.

"This is good news for Kansas," Sebelius said.

Sebelius has rejected the two 700-megawatt coal-burning plants in southwest Kansas because of concerns over climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions, the possibility of expensive federal regulations on coal facilities, and the fact that most of the power will be sold to customers in Colorado and Texas.

"We must move forward strategically - steering our state clear of the environmental, health and economic risks of massive new carbon emissions," she said.

But supporters of the plants had a different take on the failure to override.

"This is truly a sad day for the people of Kansas," said House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls.

Neufeld said the vote would stunt economic development and increase energy costs for western Kansas.

Under the proposal, the plants would have been developed by Hays-based Sunflower Electric Power Corp. and two out-of-state partners.

Deal not dead yet

During the veto override attempt, Neufeld kept the roll call open in the House for two hours to try to muster the votes to override. Most of the time, the House was under lockdown where members could only leave with permission and had to return quickly.

Neufeld and his lieutenants were on their telephones constantly, trying to persuade those who may have been wavering.

But after the failure to override, Neufeld said supporters of the plants weren't giving up.

"We have other options," he said, but declined to say what they were.

Procedurally, the House could reconsider the vote today or it could act on another coal-fired plant bill that Sebelius vetoed.

But state Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, who supports the project, said the speaker's options were limited because he lacks the two-thirds majority to overturn Sebelius.

"This has tremendous implications. Have we failed to develop an energy policy? Yes," Sloan said.

Time to move on

But state Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, who opposed the plants, said it was time for the Legislature to move on.

"This issue has taken up far too much of the Legislature's attention, and there have been a lot of issues that have not received the attention that they need.

"We need to give those issues, such as health care, and the budget, and immigration, the attention that they need, and we need to wrap this session up," Davis said.

On Wednesday - the first day of the wrap-up session - the Senate overrode Sebelius' veto 32-7, five votes more than the required two-thirds majority.

But the veto override attempt failed in the House.

The Kansas chapter of the Sierra Club praised the 45 House members who voted to sustain the veto.

"Today's vote solidifies Kansas as a true leader in the fight against global warming and opens the door for a new economy driven by clean energy technologies," the group said in a statement.

Among local legislators voting to support Sebelius' veto were Reps. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, Davis, Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, and Ann Mah, D-Topeka.

Those voting to override Sebelius' veto were Reps. Anthony Brown, R-Eudora, Sloan, Lee Tafanelli, R-Ozawkie, and Kenny Wilk, R-Lansing.

Companion bill approved

Earlier, the House approved a companion bill that would have increased the amount of energy from the project for Kansas from 200 megawatts to 400 megawatts. Supporters of the plant said the bill was needed to get more legislators to support the project. The measure would also charge ratepayers statewide 2 cents per month for each electric meter with those funds financing energy conservation and Sunflower Electric's bioenergy research center.

But the 78-46 vote in favor of that bill may have been a sign of things to come since it wasn't a two-thirds majority.

Wilk urged his colleagues to approve the bill and override Sebelius' veto, saying that the plants would be among the cleanest coal-burning units in the country, and would also pave the way for more renewable energy.

"We are starting a very new and exciting journey into the future," he said.

But state Rep. Annie Kuether, D-Topeka, opposed the companion bill saying, "They're trying to put more lipstick on a pig."


ralphralph 8 years ago

This just in from the Topeka C-J:Blizzard warning issued for northwest KansasThe Associated Press May 2, 2008 at 10:58 a.m. CDT be a CO2 shortage out there!

Sen_Fudgepack 8 years ago

Global warming means that there are extreme climate shifts... Maybe that would explain the May blizzard in KS?Trying watching something besides Bill O' Lielly or Hee Haw... Hearing people spout off about something they know little about is like watching Faux News...

georgeofwesternkansas 8 years ago

This is not dead yet! Some things happened in the Senate after midnight that give Nufeld total control over the Omnibus spending bill differences between house and senate. They could cut around $30 million in social programs targeted for Wichita if they do not get the votes for an over ride, and force the gov to cut the education budget. Not too excited about the prospects but it could happen.

KEITHMILES05 8 years ago

It is sad to see this governor use this issue for political purposes rather than promoting it as a state of the art method for energy with the newest techology and providing jobs for Kansans in the western portion of the state. Not to mention a strong committment from Sunflower to expedite alternative forms of energy. This governor has turned her back on those out west and only for political gain. Shame on her.For those who advocate "clean" air with all the alternative types of energy please be mindful those types will only provide a very, very small portion of todays demands. Those are the facts. It will take many, many years of strong committment from all energy providers to transform from coal powered to the alternative types. For those in the eastern part of the state they need to be more mindful of the horrible energy outputs in this area (other than Wolf Creek Nuclear). You are breathing death as we speak. Why are you not clamoring for instant upgrades to these filthy plants? The one outside of Lawrence is one of THE worst offenders in the country!The SAD truth is an overwhelming percentage of legislators strongly SUPPORT the Sunflower expansion.It is the militant minority who are crying foul for political gain.

KsTwister 8 years ago

Thank you Governor. Our children thank you too.

Mackadoo 8 years ago

Great news!!! Thank you for all who had the courage to do the right thing!

WilburM 8 years ago

Purely politically, the confrontation between Gov. Sebelius and Speaker Neufeld is a gross mis-match. This guy costs the GOP both votes and credibility. Given his mishandling of gambling. the coal plant, and any number of other issues -- often to the Governor's benefit -- the House GOP would be crazy to re-elect him speaker next year.

LeonTrotsky 8 years ago

This line of comments brought to you by:Blue Coal-Pennsylvania Anthracite! And now...back to The Shadow...oh, I mean the comments.

Brent Garner 8 years ago

The thing about the coal plant rejection that bothers me the most is that the governor of Kansas has acted outside of her and her governments regulatory authority. What I mean by that is that CO2 is not listed as a pollutant in any regulation or law. Further, the CO2 output of these plants was not listed as an issue in the licensing procedure. In other words, the governor changed the rules in the middle of the game and did so without authority from the legislature. Reminds me of the way the city commission has treated the Wal-Mart issue. Such capriciousness by government, even if well-intended, is frightening for if they, the government, can do it to one group, they can do it to all groups.

Sen_Fudgepack 8 years ago

The very people who want to complain about the governor overstepping her authority are the same ones who belong to the party that do nothing but overstep their authority.... Hypocrisy... Alive and well among the GOP in KS... Can you say 'warantless wire taps' or 'waterboarding' or 'Terry Schiavo'?Thank GOD the governor will stand up to those white old farts out (and their Stepford wives) in western KS who only care about T Boone Picken's money and Viagra... They'll be long dead before it's an issue so thank GOD again that greed and selfishness lose once in awhile...

kugrad 8 years ago

Thank you Governor and thanks to the Representatives who had the courage to stand up to the well-financed energy industry lobbyists and do the right thing for Kansas.

Bill Chapman 8 years ago

For once, greed did NOT win out over the health of the public. If other states need the power, let >them< build their own power plants, in their own state. The number of jobs and amount of income to the state is not worth the health problems the plants would bring.

ENGWOOD 8 years ago

We will see what the Eco Nazi's comments are when they have to get a 3rd job to pay their utility bills in the near future. Obama's Mama has closed all of Kansas for new development.

idarastar 8 years, 1 month ago

It doesn't surprise me one bit to see the ones who oppose the veto are money-hungry Republicans. Is it really better to see money in your pockets today than see the health of your grandchildren's environment down the road?I'm glad Kansas is one of the states taking a stand against global warming and standing up for "green" solutions.

love2eat 8 years ago

Thank you so much to the governor and all the senators and representatives who have done the right thing here! Investing more in coal is short sighted and merely postpones development of sensible energy policy. If this thing does go through, it will become uneconomic in a very short time -- the writing is on the wall and it will be all of us (who didn't make a fortune up front when it got approved) whose taxes will increase to bail out the financial institutions who loaned money for the construction. WAKE up fiscal conservatives -- the time to address egregiious spending is NOWTo the brave representatives and senators who did not follow the pack -- we will be voting for you in the next elections. We need more like you who are willing to stand up to the monied interrests and do what is right! Thank YOU!

OnlyTheOne 8 years ago

I urge all to take note of those lackies (obviously more interested in $$$ in pockets than the wishes of Kansans) who voted to override the veto and remember their names at reelection time.

georgeofwesternkansas 8 years ago

Not over yet folks!!After some after midnight action in the senate Nufeld now has total control over the differences in the house and senate omnibus spending bill.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 8 years ago

Before you go too gaga over Kathleen keep in mind that she supported these plants until she went to DC and found out that if she did it would hurt her chances of becoming a potential VP candidate. All of a sudden she found religion in the same way she's found every other position she takes, i.e. it benefits Kathleen to take it.Oh well, Saul Alinsky always said people would do the right things for the wrong reasons.

gr 8 years ago

"Wilk urged his colleagues to approve the bill and override Sebelius' veto, saying that the plants would be among the cleanest coal-burning units in the country,"Sebel voted against clean coal plants.

c_dubya 8 years ago

She won't be governor much longer. She has higher ambitions. Expect a short delay, and then these plants will be built. She is putting a taste in the mouth of Kansas outside of Lawrence that people will not soon forget. Think of the way you all think about President Bush; that's pretty close to how western Kansans think about Sebelius right now. After everything Lawrencians went through with the city council and Wal-Mart you'd think people would have learned how this works by now.

Baille 8 years ago

Yep, teacher4ku, except that we would only get the pollution from those plants. The power would have gone to OK, CO, and TX, which did not want the plants in their backyard.If any "clean" coal burning plants are going to be built in KS, they should replace the crappy ones we have now.

Richard Heckler 8 years ago

It's time to replace coal plants with new energy sources so your point is well taken. Sooooo in order to get rid of coal plants eastern Kansas needs another source of energy.Anybody out there want our business?Perhaps a western Kansas wind farm would seek new eastern Kansas ratepayers. Don't kid yourself kansasman plenty here would love the opportunity to cut themselves off coal power. Just give us a call and we're off.

Baille 8 years ago

Uh-oh. Melvin is getting fired up. His fellow legislators better watch their step or Melvin will start calling their friends and family and making baseless accusations of moral turpitude.

jayhawklawrence 8 years ago

The embarrassing days of Melvin Nuefeld and his cronies are nearing an end and better days for Kansans are coming.Thank you Governor Sebelius for standing up to the bullies!

jayhawklawrence 8 years ago

LIstening to conservative talk shows all day long on your radios is not the way to get a good education, quite the opposite. Whenever I travel in rural areas, that is all I can find on the radio. It is sad.We can all be deceived, but eventually fossils like Neufeld fade away and the truth remains.

dirkleisure 8 years ago's called reading for comprehension. Try it out.Unlike Sunflower, which has convinced the Legislature to grant them the authority to raise rates whenever they like for however much they please, Westar must have any rate hike approved by the KCC.Their investment is ongoing. Their rate hike is nowhere to be seen. Just because you post something doesn't make it true. Rarely does IGW present anything other than her own statements, which can hardly be called opinions because they typically have no rational basis.You are full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Enjoy your arbitrary rate hikes from your "cooperative."

dirkleisure 8 years ago

As for the continuing myth about the Lawrence plant and "cleaning it up":Here in LawrenceWestar has plans to spend $750 million making upgrades to its generating plants in Kansas, starting with the Jeffrey Energy Center and, after that, others in the system. Among them: the Lawrence Energy Center north of the Kansas Turnpike.The work in Lawrence, expected in 2009 and 2010, would entail installing equipment to reduce specific emissions other than CO2, officials said. The upgrades would be designed to reduce releases of particulates and nitrous oxide, a precursor to smog."Our customers are pretty clear on wanting to be good environmental stewards," said Bill Eastman, director of environmental services for Topeka-based Westar.

TeresaBinstock 8 years ago

Coal plants are associated with autism rates, as summarized in a recent peer-reviewed research article, "Proximity to point sources of environmental mercury release as a predictor of autism prevalence" at Furthermore, air particulates, ozone, and smog are increasingly realized to have adverse effects. On behalf of the Autism Research Institute, I recently created a mildly annotated bibliography of peer-reviewed articles. One such collection focuses upon air pollution and its effects and can be enjoyed at metastasizing economic growth increasingly pollutes, we'll have recurring choice between community health and investor profits.

jonas 8 years ago

At least by the ones I've run across so far. You all can feel free to inform me of where I'm wrong.

number1jayhawker 8 years ago

If anyone thinks the Gov't isn't already subsidizing alternative energy, they are either ignorant or just have so much hate in them, that they can not accept it.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 8 years ago

IGW says..."Shut it down and buy some cleaner energy from Holcomb."That was on the table, but there was no indication of how much it would cost or when/if the transmission capacity would be built to get it here. This was brought up by Rep. Burroughs during the "debate" (if you can call it that) on the companion measure last night. Ringing the dinner bell and saying "come an git it" doesn't do you much good if there's a massive obstacle between you and it. BPU was approached and asked to commit to it. They said they would need some time, maybe weeks to study it. They were given 6 hours to make a decision.

gr 8 years ago

"Guess you must have missed this, Brent:"Guess you think a split is a "consensus" and therefore a fact which doesn't ever need to be looked at again?"Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens said the only way the agency could "avoid taking further action" now was "if it determines that greenhouse gases do not contribute to climate change" or provides a good explanation why it cannot or will not find out whether they do."It's an assumed fact and must be disproved? Which means, they can make up anything. Let's say that obese people unbalance the planet. Therefore, the EPA must regulate obese people or prove they don't unbalance the planet."Massachusetts, one of the 12 state plaintiffs, met the test, Justice Stevens said, because it had made a case that global warming was raising the sea level along its coast, presenting the state with a "risk of catastrophic harm" that "would be reduced to some extent" if the government undertook the regulation the state sought."What a loser state. They can no more prove CO2 is raising sea levels, nor regulation would reduce sea levels.People of the areas where rainforests are being destroyed, and there soil is being destroyed due to ethanol, ought to sue Sebil for permanently destroying their country.

blessed3x 8 years ago

More Nuclear Now!!! Shoot, even the French have figured that out!

Baille 8 years ago

"he one outside of Lawrence is one of THE worst offenders in the country!"Absolutely right. Our legislators, including Tom Sloan whose record has been somewhat disappointing this session, should turn their attention to plants like that one and get it cleaned up.

dirkleisure 8 years ago

Westar wants job of building out westBy Sarah Kessinger - Harris News Service - kessinger@dailynews.netTOPEKA - With more wind farms dotting western Kansas, Westar Energy wants state regulators to scrap another transmission company's bid to build lines into southwest Kansas and let it do it.---------The transmission lines argument keeps being made, and it is wholly without merit. The transmission capacity to move power generated in the western half of our state to multiple locations is being built, and will continue to be built without a rate increase to Kansas consumers.This would be much like Westar's $500 million investment in wind energy, again without a rate increase.Doom and gloom predictions of massive rate hikes if a 1400 MW coal burning dinosaur isn't constructed are proven to be specious on a daily basis.Oh, and IGW - stop trolling.

Sharon Nottingham 8 years ago

THANK YOU, GOVERNOR SEBELIUS and to all those who supported her. Anthony Brown, shame on you. Your constituents deserve better. . .

Armen Kurdian 8 years ago

The environmental impact reasoning the governor used is a red herring. If in fact Colorado & Texas wanted that power, design the plant such that its emissions are limited and scrubbed, even if it makes it more expensive. Then propose the deal. CO & TX may still have wanted it, so we get the investment, the jobs, a little extra power for Western Kansas, CO & TX get the power they need, and everybody could have won.You environmentalists have to realize that the NIMBY (not in my backyard) philosophy is counterproductive. A responsibly planned and constructed plant would have helped the environment, because it could have been used as a model for future efficient plants. You're not helping yourselves.Look at what companies like Sassol in South Africa are doing...coal gas liquefication, pre-processing coal so that its energy potential is more concentrated, and cleaner burning. Personally, I'd rather see a nuclear plant, since it's CO2, NO2, SO2, etc. emissions are virtually nil. But wholesaledly standing in the way of progress w/o making an attempt to guide that progress hinders us all. The radical environmental lobby is its own worst enemy.

dirkleisure 8 years ago

"Shut it down and buy some cleaner energy from Holcomb."Absolutely. Love to do it. Too bad Sunflower won't play ball.georgeofwesternkansas, you are in real trouble if you get all your political insights from Martin Hawver.

bennric 8 years ago

Way to go Governor. Aside from the obvious pollutants that will be released from the power plants, we need to think about the tons of coal that will be used to fuel these plants. Where is this coal coming from? How much irreversible damage to the environment was caused obtaining this coal? What about the diesel fueled locomotives transporting this coal to the plant?

yourworstnightmare 8 years ago

Neufeld is a buffoon.Melvin, go back to farming and leave running the state to grown-up professionals who understand the issues.You are of much more use to kansas as a farmer.

ralphralph 8 years ago

Clean. Safe. Reliable. Nuclear.p.s. - adios, Gov Chatty Kathy. It's been good to know you.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 8 years ago

gr (Anonymous) says:"Guess you think a split is a "consensus" and therefore a fact which doesn't ever need to be looked at again?"Guess again. I believe a SCOTUS decision, whether split or not, is a decision and a majority opinion prevails and sets legal precedent in a pretty big way. You said split >> consensus >> fact. I see you out on a limb with that one, gr.I just pointed out that there is a SCOTUS decision whereas Brent claimed there was no law. Call it a split if you like, but it is the majority decision that prevails. As the article points out, it sets the stage for more.

Sen_Fudgepack 8 years ago

I find it hilarious to read the asinine comments about how this veto will end future investment in KS. Companies will go where they can pay cheap wages. Eliminating a coffin factory posing as a power plant will not prevent other companies from coming if they truly want to come. If anything, it will show that we care about what happens to the state and the planet. That will be an enticement in itself to companies who actually care instead of trying to use western KS as a toilet.If this sends a message to polluters that KS is off limits, then that's a good message IMO.

teacher4ku 8 years ago

I have laughed a lot during the past couple of months reading all of the postings about these coal fired plants. Coal isn't the best idea, but for all of those people who think wind power is the solution don't understand how things work. If you need 600 megawatts of power and you get 400 from coal/natural gas/nuclear, and the other 200 is coming from wind, you better hope the wind is blowing all of the time. If it's not, there are going to be a lot of somebodies without electricity. I've also read that western Kansas is perfect for wind generation. Having lived in both parts of this state, the wind is just stronger out here, so strong that many days the turbines would have to be shut down so they wouldn't be damaged. Then there was the complaining of people because the electric companies were going to make the consumer help pay for wind generation. (If you want it, you're going to have to pay for it.) One last thing that I found interesting is that when I read the Capital Journal and notice Mr. Bremby via email telling a developer of an oil refinery that if he submitted a permit, he would approve it. Not a big surprise that the refinery was looking to build in the eastern part of the state!

Richard Heckler 8 years ago

It's a great day for America. It is amazing that so many scream about corporate welfare, special interest funding of campaigns and the known corruption attached to both yet get behind coal and nuke power corporate welfare beggars and their legislative counterparts . When is the last time either told the truth? Deregulation is not working!There are thousands of new jobs attached to wind power,solar power, refined hydropower and geo thermal. It's all available now. Why not go for it?

vpete69 8 years ago

Here's what is funny about this:If the veto had been overturned, the left would have taken the issue to court.The veto held, and the right respects the democratic process and refuses to make a court case out of this.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 8 years ago

vpete69 (Anonymous) says:"The veto held, and the right respects the democratic process and refuses to make a court case out of this."Hmmm. You must have missed this part of the article above:'But after the failure to override, Neufeld said supporters of the plants weren't giving up."We have other options," he said, but declined to say what they were.'declined to say what they wereIn previous statements, they said that they would, in fact, consider remedy via the courts. They respect the democratic process so much that, according to Rep. Burroughs statements during debate on the House floor last night, a rep from the WY Co. delegation had a relative threatened to be kicked off of a job site if the legislator did not change their vote.

Baille 8 years ago

"If the veto had been overturned, the left would have taken the issue to court."What? On what grounds? That's just a silly statement."They could cut around $30 million in social programs targeted for Wichita if they do not get the votes for an over ride, and force the gov to cut the education budget."That sounds like Melvin: if you can't call the opposition's spouses and spread nasty rumors then target the children of their constituents.For all this talk about alternate energy sources, one would think there were plethora of options. There aren't. But this deal did not die because it involved coal, but because it gave Kansans the short end of the stick. Big business pollutes our air and takes what little is left of our water for nothing more than a few temporary jobs. Meanwhile, we are stuck with the same crappy plants, the same rates, dirtier air, no water in the aquifer, and an inherently flawed economic model in western Kansas propped up to limp along for another couple of years.Our "representatives" need to stop taking a short view and stop acting in favor of their own personal best interests, and think about what is good for our state in the long-term. Instead, complex problems are addressed with greed, willful ignorance, and vitriol from those that damn well know better.

jonas 8 years ago

teacher4ku (Anonymous) says:"Coal isn't the best idea, but for all of those people who think wind power is the solution don't understand how things work."Personally, I think the only solution, and one we will eventually have to painfully implement, is a dramatic change in our lifestyles. By most any measures, our standard of living consumes more resources per capita than any other nation in the world.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 8 years ago

bkgarner says..."What I mean by that is that CO2 is not listed as a pollutant in any regulation or law."Guess you must have missed this, Brent: that you used the term capriciousness, the SCOTUS ruling described the EPA that way.

KEITHMILES05 8 years ago

Not one of you people who posted here talked about the votes on this issue.Both chambers voted OVERWHELMINGLY to override the veto.Senate: 32-7=80%House: 80-45=64%As you can see the legislators were voting in huge numbers representing their constituents.It's only a small amount of legislators who went against the wishes of the people of the state.No way this large amount of representatives from BOTH parties are wrong.So, you people saying "thank you Kathleen for saving my air" are full of yourselves.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"Senate: 32-7=80%House: 80-45=64%As you can see the legislators were voting in huge numbers representing their constituents."You forgot one vote, that of the governor, who was elected to represent the views of her constituents, and she has a lot more of them than any Senator or Representative.Governorship 1-0=100%

Bill Griffith 8 years ago

IGW, I wouldn't say I "dismissed" your idea about how to handle Westar on its negotiations with EPA and KDHE over their plant upgrades, as much as to touch on the fact that the process is well under way and it is different since the required upgrades do not include CO2, the reason for Bremby's decision on Sunflower's air permit. I agree that the well-coiffed Mrs. Svaty's and her employer do want the transmission line to Moreland, Oklahoma that would not be built at the present time if Holcomb II is not constructed. But as other posters have mentioned we do have two transmission lines going forward in the state that at the present time would handle mostly wind power.

dirkleisure 8 years ago

vpete69 (Anonymous) says:Here's what is funny about this:If the veto had been overturned, the left would have taken the issue to court.The veto held, and the right respects the democratic process and refuses to make a court case out of this.-------------------------The Kansas City Star:Kansas House Speaker Melvin Neufeld and Majority Leader Ray Merrick want to sue Gov. Kathleen Sebelius over her administration's rejection of two W. Kansas coal plants.The two introduced a resolution just a few moments ago authorizing the Legislative Coordinating Council (a group of legislative leaders that helms the legislative branch between sessions) to hire private legal counsel to sue Sebelius for violating the separation of powers.The resolution reads "these decisions and other actions by the executive branch of this state have raised numerous legal and constitutional questions concerning the actions taken by the executive branch..."Remember, Sebelius' appointed regulator, KS Health and Environment Secretary Rod Bremby, rejected Sunflower's proposal even though it met every state regulation. Many lawmakers have long complained that Bremby usurped legislative power by rejecting the project on grounds that don't exist in the law.A spokeswoman for Neufeld said the House isn't going to take any action on the resolution tonight. It would also have to go before the Senate (but being a resolution, it can't be vetoed). Should it pass, the resolution would then go to the LCC.Why not ask AG Steve Six (aside from the point that he was appointed by Sebelius)? "The attorney general of this state is new to the position... and to request the attorney general to bring a legal action in this matter... would place the attorney general as a member of the executive branch in an untenable ethical position," reads the resolution.

dirkleisure 8 years ago

The only reasonable argument posted here today is the suggestion that the polluting coal plants in this state be shut down and power from a cleaner burning coal plant newly constructed by Sunflower be sold to companies needing to replace the power produced by older plants.Unfortunately, the Sunflower executives have no interest in that plan.Who, then, could make it happen?Well, Sunflower Electric Power Corporation is a consumer-owned, nonprofit corporation operated cooperatively by six rural electric distribution cooperatives that serve people located in 34 western Kansas counties. It is those consumers in those 34 western Kansas counties who, by a democratic vote, could demand that Sunflower market its proposed new power not to Colorado and Texas, but to Kansans.Kansans who are obviously clamoring for cleaner sources of power and a major reduction in CO2 emissions.So, why don't the members in those 34 western Kansas counties take control of the situation and end this stalemate?

dirkleisure 8 years ago

If you're satisfied watching your executives botch your new coal fired plant, then so be it.Put the blame on others all you want, but if I worked for an organization who had put a large portion of its future into one project and didn't deliver, I wouldn't be working there the next day.The fact remains the members of the cooperative, because it is a cooperative, had a tremendous opportunity to tell the Sunflower executives to stop being, ahem, stubborn.Instead? Crickets. Well, except for the ladies like some that troll on this newspaper who kept egging them on. Solid strategy.

texburgh 8 years ago

This is what the Kansas House will discuss this morning (Sat., May 3): "HCR 5042, A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION authorizing the legislative coordinating council to hire private legal counsel for the purpose of bringing suit against the governor on the grounds of violation by the executive branch of the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers based on the governor's and the executive branch's actions relating to the authorization of a coal-fired power plant in this state."This was introduced by Melvin Neufeld and Ray Merrick.Let's see: you lose twice on attempts to override a veto so you decide to sue the governor for vetoing your bill. And since when is a veto a violation of the constitution? Maybe Merrick and Neufeld think we should sue President Bush for his vetoes of the state children's health insurance plan!!!

dirkleisure 8 years ago

Flock, does it appear from the KCC filing that Westar wants to secure the transmission lines regardless of the Holcomb construction?

notajayhawk 8 years ago

With the dozens of stories that have appeared about the coal plants, the legislation, the vetoes, the override attempts, etc., I'm just a little curious as to why I had to read this story in the Kansas City Star instead of the award-winning LJW. I missed it?

dirkleisure 8 years ago

vpete69 (Anonymous) says:Here's what is funny about this:If the veto had been overturned, the left would have taken the issue to court.The veto held, and the right respects the democratic process and refuses to make a court case out of this.-----------------------------Legislators propose suing Sebelius over coalAssociated PressTOPEKA - House members have introduced a measure authorizing legal action against Gov. Kathleen Sebelius over coal-fired power plants.The resolution, introduced Friday, would authorize legislative leaders to hire private counsel to sue Sebelius over alleged separation of powers violations.Leaders said the Sebelius administration "ignored and misinterpreted" state laws concerning emergency powers of the secretary of health and environment.Secretary Rod Bremby used his emergency powers in October to deny an air quality permit sought by Sunflower Electric Power Corp. to build two coal-power plants in Finney County. Bremby used those powers based on the potential carbon dioxide emissions of those plants.

dirkleisure 8 years ago

Sunflower is a cooperative, and as such Sunflower is its customers.If the customers are so interested in selling power to the east, then they should voice their opinion and end this stalemate.Instead, you just have drones like IGW spreading the same old tired lines of the Sunflower executives. I cannot think of a single person who has ever "pooh-pooh'd" the idea of Lawrence using power generated by Sunflower.It is the suits, the corporate barons, the Sunflower executives who have led us down this primrose path. And the customers who actually control Sunflower apparently being led around by their wallets.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"Sunflower is a cooperative, and as such Sunflower is its customers.If the customers are so interested in selling power to the east, then they should voice their opinion and end this stalemate."Actually, and I'm not sure if it's happened yet or not, but there has been an attempt underway to take away any input from individual consumers on what a so-called cooperative does.

dirkleisure 8 years ago

So, just to be clear, igw is against his own idea. Bozo and Belexus have argued your interpretation of the process is faulty, not the facts that Jeffrey and Lawrence spew too much CO2 nor that the idea of buying power from a new Sunflower plant has merit. The real key has been your insistence that the debate is about Jeffrey and Lawrence, not about Holcomb. Holcomb, apparently, is the divine coal plant, beyond debate. Heretics all, right igw?Also, to be clear, igw's "cooperative" apparently doesn't involve anything other than the executives making all the decisions and then the "members" defending those decisions to the bitter end.David Wittig is such a tired, tired, tired excuse.Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. It is sad, really.

dirkleisure 8 years ago

Reading for comprehension is a valuable skill required for a Kansas G.E.D. and for graduation from one of our fine community colleges.According to Harris News Service, the transmission lines proposed by ITC are for use by Westar. However, there appears to be some hesitancy on the part of ITC in building those lines.Therefore, to guarantee their construction, according to Harris News Service, Westar has filed with the KCC to build the lines themselves.Even trolls can learn to read.

dirkleisure 8 years ago

Sigh.Reading for comprehension is a basic skill required for entry into a legitimate university or college.According to a Harris News Service story, Westar is asking the KCC to allow Westar to build and maintain transmission lines in SW Kansas instead of granting rights to a company called ITC Great Plains.Of course, if all you do is read the headline you wouldn't be able to cull that basic information, which is all included in the first sentence of the story.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 8 years ago

Like I said, on to the courts. And IGW, don't put so much stock in yourself. I think the facts I've laid out there speak for themselves. You were the one that said nothing was being done, and you were wrong.

ENGWOOD 8 years ago

Now we know the truth about Obama Mama's Veto, She is in bed with Westar And Sunflowers growth and transmission lines would cut into her kickbacks. We know how Westar plays, they just get the Obama Mama to handle the competition.TOPEKA - With more wind farms dotting western Kansas, Westar Energy wants state regulators to scrap another transmission company's bid to build lines into southwest Kansas and let it do it.A Westar official said Thursday the company is interested in building its own transmission out west. To do so, it filed last Friday to intervene in a case that ITC Great Plains has pending before the Kansas Corporation Commission, which regulates large utilities. By Sarah Kessinger - Harris News Service

Chrissy Neibarger 8 years ago

you've got to love those suckers that buy into the "clean coal" propaganda put out by the coal industry. there are NO clean coal plants online, anywhere. the earliest expected arrival of these supposedly clean commercial plants is between 2020 and 2025, and there have been ZERO studies released to show that the technology actually provides any reduction at all in emissions. in fact, it's already well known that the process touted as "carbon capture and storage" doesn't actually get rid of the dangerous emissions, it just reroutes them."clean coal" is an oxymoron. get your heads out of your butts and stop doing the coal industry's PR work for them.

Bill Griffith 8 years ago

For the record I am not an employee of any utility, especially Darkstar or affiiiated in any way other than paying my paltry electric bill to them monthly. As far as wondering the motive of said corporate giant, in my experience dealing with them it will come down to profit. If they think ITC is waffling or it is more profitable to do it themselves they will attempt that.

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