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Archive for Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Is another coal plant ‘Hail Mary’ in store?

May 14, 2008

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Coal fight spending topped $135,000 in April

Lobbyists involved in the legislative battle over coal-fired power plants have reported spending more than $135,000 in April. Most of the money was spent on media advertising or other campaigns designed to pressure lawmakers, their reports show. Sunflower reported spending about $70,000 on lobbying in April, the bulk of it on media advertising. Its allies spent an additional $44,000.

The Great Plains Alliance for Clean Energy spent almost $12,000 on its efforts to persuade legislators to oppose the plants. Since October, the parties have spent $947,000 on lobbying.

- The Associated Press

— Will there be another "Hail Mary" attempt to get approval of the coal-burning plants project in southwest Kansas?

Opponents and supporters of the project said Tuesday that it's possible.

"It's not totally, totally over yet," Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson said.

"The pro-coal forces seem to come from the Hillary Clinton school of never give up," Parkinson said.

Here's the situation: Legislators twice approved bills that would allow the construction of the two 700-megawatt, coal-fired units near Holcomb.

And twice Gov. Kathleen Sebelius vetoed the measures, citing concerns with climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions and provisions that strip the state of air quality permit authority. The Senate easily overturned her vetoes, which requires a two-thirds majority.

But the House has fallen short of an override, needing 84 votes in the 125-member chamber.

Upon ending the 90-day legislative session, supporters of the plants again approved the project, this time bundling it into one bill with other popular economic initiatives.

Sebelius is expected to veto this one, too.

If she does, supporters of the plants would still have one more opportunity to override.

The session officially ends May 29, which is usually a ceremonial conclusion known as "Sine Die," the Latin phrase for "without another day." While often a brief meeting where few lawmakers even show up, there have been times the Legislature has conducted business on Sine Die.

And that's a possibility here.

Steve Miller, a spokesman for Hays-based Sunflower Electric Power Corp., the project's developers, noted that large majorities of House members at one time or another have voted for the coal-burning plants.

He said it was possible, "if we get all (of the supporters) to show up, we could override." But Miller also said he didn't know how the session would end.

Assuming Sebelius vetoes the bill, Parkinson said, another veto override attempt is possible. But, he added, "it would take an enormous effort to get 84 members of the House back here for an override."

Especially, he said, because the last bill that includes the plants actually received fewer votes - 76 - than previous coal bills.

But even if the Legislature is finished with the issue, the battle will continue.

Sunflower has filed an administrative appeal of the original permit denial by Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Roderick Bremby. In addition, Sunflower and one of its partners, Tri-State Generation and Transmission of Westminster, Colo., each has filed lawsuits against the decision. And Finney County commissioners have appealed the KDHE decision in court.

Comments

LeonTrotsky 5 years, 11 months ago

Ah, power and money...and knuckleheads!

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its_getting_warmer 5 years, 11 months ago

logicsound, I don't have an axe to grind. But I very much want for people from Lawrence area to recognize their hypocrisies as they preach solutions to SW Kansas that they do not subject themselves to. If that is an axe, so be it. You included.

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ENGWOOD 5 years, 11 months ago

I still believe that Uncle Melvin should have tied it to one of Obama Mama's gambling bills to see if she really had any testicular fortitude

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none2 5 years, 11 months ago

dialupandy (Andrew Stahmer) says:"Face it, it really doesn't matter what we think:they're gonna push this thing until they get it."===================================Unfortunately, that is the way some parts of government at any level work...That reminds me of years ago in Liberal, KS (a SW Kansas city), the school district wanted a new High School. They just stopped maintaining the old one, and kept the question on the local ballot. A former teacher even pointed out that when they printed in the newspaper a foundation crumbling as proof of the need for a new school, it was actually a separate building used in the picture -- not the HS building itself where the kids went to school. Anyway time after time, they tried and then they finally got the bonds passed. They did build a nice new school, but the old one had a few years left at the time. Right after they passed it, one of the thoughts of what to do with the old school was to turn it into a retirement community. (In other words, the old school was too dangerous for Billy and Suzy to be in from 9am-5pm, but grandma and grampa would be just fine living there full time.) The senior lofts/apartment idea didn't pan out. Scroll forward 20 years: Now the newer part of the old school seems to be a church, but the older building just sits there. It is just too bad that they don't fix it up. It has stood there all these years, but left idle.

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cool 5 years, 11 months ago

According to a study conducted by scientists from the Scripps Institute there is less oxygen in the atmosphere today than there used to be. The ongoing study, which accumulated and interpreted data from NOAA monitoring stations all over the world, has been running from 1989 to the present. It monitored both the rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the decline in oxygen. The conclusion of that 20 year study is that, as carbon dioxide (produced primarily by burning fossil fuels) accumulates in the atmosphere, available oxygen is decreasing.OXYGEN gone = game over !

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cool 5 years, 11 months ago

Cleaning Fossil FuelsHyCoalTM: THE NEW CLEAN BURNING COAL WITH HYDROGEN ADDITIVE Extracted from a paper written by Dr. R. M. Santilli Issued October 2002, revised November 2004, August 2007THE ISSUE Coal is no longer environmentally acceptable as a fuel because of excessive pollutants in its combustion exhaust. These pollutants are mainly "unburned" hydrocarbons (HC). The current methods of coal combustion release only part of its energy content; the rest is released in the exhaust through incomplete combustion. An improvement of the quality of the exhaust would imply an increased use of the coal thermal content, resulting in higher efficiency, and a higher energy release from a given amount of coal - or the release of the same thermal energy from a lesser amount of coal.

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cool 5 years, 11 months ago

moderationman (Anonymous) says:So the folks of SW Kansas want to drain the aquifer and pollute the skies for a little bit of green. The Economic Devo stuff this was tied to on the third try is what makes it unconstitutional. Our legislators don't seem to care. And for those who want to bitch and moan about the Westar plants in NE Kansas; Westar has already announced plans to reduce emissions. There is nothing of benefit in these plants for the vast majority of Kansans; that is the bottom line.well, they believe the 'spin' that this will provide jobs - but it also 'provides' a natural disaster in terms of pollution.

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logicsound04 5 years, 11 months ago

"This piece of legislation contains some very important economic development opportunities for the state."--------------Then perhaps the Republican leadership shouldn't have tied such important opportunities to an initiative they had already seen get vetoed TWICE!================================"I don't read about those communities looking for $30 million dollar soccer field improvements on the front page. I don't read about Bill Self helping with facilities in LIberal, or Oakley."--------------IGW,Arguments like these make it hard to take your position on the power plants seriously. They really make you seem like you have an axe to grind with the eastern part of the state, specifically Lawrence, rather than just being concerned with economic development in the Western part of the state.And I'm sure the people of SW Kansas are indeed aware of the value and scarcity of water. Which is why I am skeptical that the majority of people in that part of the state support the coal plants. It's counterlogical AND the only poll that has been done about the issue supports the idea that SW Kansans do not support the plant as Mr. Neufeld and Sunflower might have us believe.

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janeyb 5 years, 11 months ago

My understanding is the coal plants were placed on a bill extending economic development measures that are in place until December 2009. They don't have to pass this session. They can be taken up again next year. It was just a puny attempt by Neufeld and others to get more votes for the plants, but they lost votes instead.

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BigDog 5 years, 11 months ago

moderationman (Anonymous) says:So the folks of SW Kansas want to drain the aquifer and pollute the skies for a little bit of green. The Economic Devo stuff this was tied to on the third try is what makes it unconstitutional.---------------------------------------She has signed bills for years which the constitutionality has been questionable. This is her latest excuse to hide behind. I can tell you several bills that she signed this year that contain more than one subject. The budget bills often contain provisos that regard statutes and have nothing to do with appropriations.She might wanna be careful on this one because I am sure there are groups who may just come back and challenge the constitutionality of some legislation that she supports and has signed over the last few years.

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lucky_man 5 years, 11 months ago

It's too bad Sebelius is being bothered by these pesky coal plants. Kansas deserves better than Sebelius.

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ralphralph 5 years, 11 months ago

Clean. Safe. Reliable ... Nuclear.

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its_getting_warmer 5 years, 11 months ago

moderationman... I'm glad westar has announced it wants to pollute less..... like SW Kansas plants already are.....but I don't see any CO2 announcements from them....and neither do you.

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Andrew Stahmer 5 years, 11 months ago

Face it, it really doesn't matter what we think...they're gonna push this thing until they get it. I guess just remember that in the voting booth. I guess on one itsy bitsy positive note-the plants and trees around the coal plant will be in c02 heaven.

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Bruce Bertsch 5 years, 11 months ago

So the folks of SW Kansas want to drain the aquifer and pollute the skies for a little bit of green. The Economic Devo stuff this was tied to on the third try is what makes it unconstitutional. Our legislators don't seem to care. And for those who want to bitch and moan about the Westar plants in NE Kansas; Westar has already announced plans to reduce emissions. There is nothing of benefit in these plants for the vast majority of Kansans; that is the bottom line.

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none2 5 years, 11 months ago

Anonymous userits_getting_warmer (Anonymous) says:"And Eride, the people in SW Kansas are acutely aware of the value of water."================Yes they are aware, yet unfortunately some of them still want to suck the land try despite their next door neighbors. Some of them also naively believe that a good rain will simply replenish the Ogallala... Plenty of people out there do NOT like the boom/bust Ethanol plants being built. For instance, the one in unincorporated Hayne (between the Cimarron River in US 54 and Liberal). That water is going to come out of the water around the Cimarron River. Just go up the valley a few miles to where the river bed crosses US 89. You don't see a drop of water on the surface. Try going up to Garden City where they are putting in another Ethanol plant. It looks more like a scene from Lawrence of Arabia (with a few weeds thrown in) than a river. Of course the Holcomb coal plant(s) will only be a few miles upstream. Sure SW Kansas needs some breaks. It was unfair how for YEARS the state had a severance tax on natural gas and oil production without investing that money in that region to prepare for the day that the oil & gas diminished. (It would be similar to the state putting a huge tax on eastern Kansans' water bills and spent all the money out west and then we had a drought in eastern Kansas. They got by with it because western Kansas has fewer votes.) Nevertheless, SW Kansas needs something long term, not a boom and bust investment. There should be a whole lot more wind use out there. Plus any electrical agreement should not "LOCK" this energy into going to other states. That would be as bad as saying we were giving away the majority of our water rights to Colorado , NE New Mexico or the OK & Texas Panhandles. Sure they have the right to sell excess energy produced to other states, but it shouldn't be locked into the deal.

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eb 5 years, 11 months ago

If this would generate much needed revenues $$$ for the state of Kansas, then I am all for them building a new plant.Yes, but at what cost? Bremby keeps going back and forth saying they're going to monitor carbon dioxide emissions and there will be restrictions, etc. etc... This isn't an issue of generating power--there are other ways to do that. A more pressing issue is pollution and what the heck we're filling our atmosphere with. Come on people, let's get past focusing on just money and become educated about issues that could have adverse effects on the environment now and far into the future.

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jumpin_catfish 5 years, 11 months ago

More nukes, more nukes, more nukes!

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Bill Griffith 5 years, 11 months ago

Assuming the override does not happen, and that is the probable scenario, will Tri-State pull the plug on the project some time in June as was intimated earlier this year? This is Tri-State's call, not Sunflower's. Right now there are 8 lawsuits and one administrative appeal in the works as well. If the legislature does override, how long will this morass last from a legal perspective?

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its_getting_warmer 5 years, 11 months ago

...and it is once again the snarky comments of people like Dirkliesure, who poke fun of SW Kansas and its lack of economic opportunities, which anger many out there...... ...he really shouldn't maintain his employment on behalf of the people of Kansas.

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BigDog 5 years, 11 months ago

It is about time this governor finds a way to have some economic development in this state that creates private sector job. This piece of legislation contains some very important economic development opportunities for the state. One such project would bring a wind turbine manufacturing facility to Topeka, creating 750-800 new jobs. Along with an expansion of Hill's Pet Product and the Intermodal Transfer Station in Gardner.During her years in office Kansas has had only growth of jobs in the government sector.

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number1jayhawker 5 years, 11 months ago

If this would generate much needed revenues $$$ for the state of Kansas, then I am all for them building a new plant.Like a poster stated earlier, just because most of the product is being exported out of state, does not make it a bad thing.

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dirkleisure 5 years, 11 months ago

The issue of power being sold out of state was brought up specifically in reply to the assertion that failure to construct the plants would result in a doubling of electricity rates in Kansas.As a response to that argument, it is a sound one and makes no comment on whether the policy of selling power out of state has merit.But at least now we know that SW Kansas needs a new power plant because it doesn't have Bill Self. Would they settle for Bonnie Henrickson?

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its_getting_warmer 5 years, 11 months ago

Over the last 25 years, Pott. County has received close to a third of a billion dollars in tax payments to support its city county and school district from its power plant.SW Kansas would like to have the opportunity to sell power to those from out of state and receive money to support THEIR schools in exchange. I don't read about those communities looking for $30 million dollar soccer field improvements on the front page. I don't read about Bill Self helping with facilities in LIberal, or Oakley.And Eride, the people in SW Kansas are acutely aware of the value of water.

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ENGWOOD 5 years, 11 months ago

We will get all the pollution from the BNSF Intermodal freight Facility forever and the majority of the product will never be sold in Kansas. Oh but that is Eco Devo for NE Kansas and thats good for Obama's Mama.http://www.turnkeyproperties.org/resources_details.php?id_art=73191&img_id=0

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Eride 5 years, 11 months ago

Water is honestly the bigger issue which is why I am surprised it hasn't been a bigger issue of discussion. Try farming in western KS without water...

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Joe Hyde 5 years, 11 months ago

The fact remains that 85% of the power to be generated by these two proposed plants is earmarked for export to Colorado and Texas, with Kansas getting the remaining 15%.Again, this raises the fundamental question: Why doesn't Sunflower build the plants within the borders of the states that most want the plants' output?Oh, that's right; I forgot! They already tried putting their plants in those states but Colorado and Texas rejected the permits based on environmental safety concerns!Despite this, many members of the Kansas Senate and House would pimp our environment for the pleasure of power clients across the border who are OK with getting their electric desires satisfied "on the side".

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BigDog 5 years, 11 months ago

The whole 20% staying in the state is such a joke .... tell me what percentage of wheat stays in the state and for that matter corn, beef, airplanes, cars, etc. The state gets all of the pollution from these products also yet most of the product is shipped out of state.That is called interstate and international trade.Opposed to or in favor of the coal plants, this is a lame excuse.

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Eride 5 years, 11 months ago

My only problem with all of this is how much time was spent by the legislature trying to push something through that obviously wasn't going to get by a veto... not once... but thrice!And to make things even worse the third time they bundled it with a bunch of non-related items which is blatently unconstitutional. So not only can't it get by a veto but if it somehow did it would be struck down by the Kansas Supreme Court. What a monumental waste of time that could of been better spent on other potential more important issues that actually could of been passed into law!

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gr 5 years, 11 months ago

Checking reality - ever heard of speculation and hedge bets?

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Reality_Check 5 years, 11 months ago

Igby wrote: "The next years electric bills will double what your paying now."Please explain, oh Genius One, since the new coal plants wouldn't have come online for at least 3 years and only 20% of the power generated was slated for Kansas. If electric bills double next year, it won't be because of anything done by the present government...you know it, I know, and the American people know it (as Bob Dole used to say).

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Dale Stringer 5 years, 11 months ago

We should also shut down all the coal power plants in the state that currently polute more than the new plants are predicted to put out.

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igby 5 years, 11 months ago

If you don't know by now whats happening your blind. The next years electric bills will double what your paying now. Sebelius will get the blame for the cost increases and soon she'll be out of office.

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