Topeka Gov. Kathleen Sebelius says she doesn't see much future in the proposal to build two 700-megawatt coal-burning power plants in southwest Kansas, and doesn't want it tying up the 2009 legislative session.
"I'm hopeful that given the challenges that we are going to face, that every issue that we need to deal with is not hijacked by a proposal that, frankly, may have some serious financial implications moving forward," Sebelius said.
Hays-based Sunflower Electric Power Corp. has proposed building the two units near its existing facility in Holcomb.
Last year, the Sebelius administration rejected the plants, citing health and environmental concerns from the project's annual emission of 11 million tons of carbon dioxide, believed by many scientists as causing global climate change.
During the 2008 legislative session, supporters of the project pushed to overturn the decision by adopting bills that required construction of the plants. But Sebelius vetoed the attempts, and lawmakers couldn't muster the two-thirds majorities to overturn those vetoes.
The Legislature will start its 2009 session in January, and supporters of the plants say they again will try to get the plants approved.
The $3.6 billion project would help the economy by providing needed jobs, said Cindy Hertel, a spokeswoman for Sunflower Electric. And Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, and House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, have already said they want to try again to get the plants built.
But Sebelius said the election of Barack Obama as U.S. president and the nation's worsening economy make construction of coal-fired plants doubtful. Obama supports a cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which many say will increase costs of coal-produced energy.
But Hertel said the Sunflower project's funding was solid, and she said public opinion was moving toward acceptance of more coal-burning plants.
"The tide is changing. People see we need to make use of all our resources," she said.