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Archive for Friday, April 3, 2009

Kansas House OKs another bill to allow coal plants, but with too few votes to override veto

A bill allowing two coal-fired power plants in southwest Kansas passed through the House Friday.

April 3, 2009, 4:25 p.m. Updated April 3, 2009, 6:09 p.m.

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State Rep. Forrest Knox, R-Fredonia, explains a conference committee report for House Bill 2014, which would allow the construction of two 700-megawatt coal-burning power plants. The measure was approved 74-48, but 10 votes short of what would be needed to overturn a veto from Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

State Rep. Forrest Knox, R-Fredonia, explains a conference committee report for House Bill 2014, which would allow the construction of two 700-megawatt coal-burning power plants. The measure was approved 74-48, but 10 votes short of what would be needed to overturn a veto from Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

— The Kansas House on Friday approved another bill that would allow construction of two 700-megawatt coal-burning power plants.

But the 74-48 vote is 10 votes short of what it would take to override a certain veto from Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

After the House action, the Kansas chapter of the Sierra Club, which opposes the project, released a statement, urging legislators to drop the issue and focus on developing renewable energy.

“We look forward to the governor vetoing this bill and encourage legislators to sustain it,” the group said.

The vote sets the stage for another veto showdown when the so-called wrap-up session starts April 29.

Between now and then, legislators will undoubtedly be lobbied on both sides.

The issue has rocked Kansas politics for 18 months.

Hays-based Sunflower Electric Power Corp. and Colorado-based Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association have proposed building the plants in southwestern Kansas.

Sebelius has rejected the project, citing its annual emission of 11 million tons of climate-changing carbon dioxide. Sebelius also has said the plants are not necessary, since 85 percent of the power would be sold to out-of-state customers, and that new federal rules on CO2 coming down the pike would make the project unfeasible.

Supporters have said the project will help the economy, and the plants will be among the cleanest coal-fired units in the country.

Sebelius vetoed three coal plant bills last year. The Senate has been able to reach two-third majorities to overturn the vetoes, but those efforts have fizzled in the House, which has fallen several votes short.

On Thursday, the Senate gave the bill a 31-7 veto-proof margin, which put the focus back on the House.

House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, has said he was confident that when the time came, he could muster the 84 votes in the 125-member chamber that would be needed to override a veto.

The measure has lost support from when it was first approved in the House this session, 79-44 in late February.

Sunflower Energy issued a statement, urging support of the bill.

“Gov. Sebelius has promised to veto the energy bill in the current form when it crosses her desk,” the statement said. “While history prepares us for this outcome, we can only hope that the strong support in both the House and the Senate will serve as a strong indicator to the governor that this energy legislation is a package Kansans support.”

Comments

normal_entire_route 5 years, 11 months ago

Marion wants your children to be poisoned and ill, drink polluted water and breath polluted air, play in polluted soil and eat polluted food. I'll take Kathy's future.

Danimal 5 years, 11 months ago

God forbid we do anything to bring a few jobs into this state. Guess what folks? If we don't build it here they'll probably build it in northern Oklahoma and sell us the energy from out of state. I know how some people hate economic growth and the generation of wealth, but how are the rural and poorer regions of the state supposed to expand their economies without electricity? For people in Lawrence (that has one of the dirtiest coal-burning power plants in the nation) to belly ache about these comparatively clean plants, is the absolute height of hypocrisy. If Douglas County was already running on wind, or even nuclear energy, I could see everyone getting worked up about this. I don't know how, but most people seem to have forgotten that this little blue spot on the state churns out more pollution than most of the rest of it combined. When all the environmentalists start going off the grid and putting wind turbines on top of their houses and driving electric cars, I'll start listening to them.

repaste 5 years, 11 months ago

Hey Danny the electricity was not coming here anyway. You really think one worker on those plants would be from Kansas? Having one dirty plant does not mean we need more. 50% of electricity produced disappears anyway, conservation would seem more prudent. An x-box cost $200 a year even if never played, making things not burn energy when turned off would save many plants.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 11 months ago

Great agrument, Danimal-- if we don't do something stupid and short-sighted, someone else will.

frank mcguinness 5 years, 11 months ago

Danimal (Anonymous) says…

God forbid we do anything to bring a few jobs into this state.(Rooster says, 100-200 tops) Guess what folks? If we don't build it here they'll probably build it in northern Oklahoma and sell us the energy from out of state.(Rooster says, all 15% wow) I know how some people hate economic growth and the generation of wealth, but how are the rural and poorer regions of the state supposed to expand their economies without electricity?(Rooster says, my mother in-law who lives in holcomb always complaines about the power going out, yeah right) For people in Lawrence (that has one of the dirtiest coal-burning power plants in the nation) to belly ache about these comparatively clean plants, is the absolute height of hypocrisy.(Rooster says, You sponsor a bill to either clean up the plant or remove it and I guarantee a majority will support it) If Douglas County was already running on wind, or even nuclear energy, I could see everyone getting worked up about this. I don't know how, but most people seem to have forgotten that this little blue spot on the state churns out more pollution than most of the rest of it combined. When all the environmentalists start going off the grid and putting wind turbines on top of their houses and driving electric cars, I'll start listening to them.

Rooster says: danimal your ideas are tired and lacking any grasp of reality. Please go back to eating your bon bons and leave the discussion to rational thinkers.

grammaddy 5 years, 11 months ago

Hey Danimal, the energy wasn't going to Kansas, it was going to Colorado. I'm with Kathleen,repaste and normal(?) on this one.I hope Kathleen's attorney general has the same set of balls she has. Blow, blow, blow!!!

Ogallala_Kid 5 years, 11 months ago

I don't know who danimal is, but he is correct. The region is less prosperous than Lawrence area, it pays some of the highest rates for electricity in the state, it has little capacity to provide growth. It can generate jobs and millions of dollars in tax collections by manufacturing and selling power to Colorado.

If this was all about the environment, the people in Lawrence would either need to shut down their personal power plant cess-pool, or stop buying those new energy-hog flat screen tvs to watch their basketball games. Or even actually install some wind turbines in their own front yard, which won't happen. The word hypocrisy quickly comes to mind.

And that is why clearly over 60% of the legislature has always approved of these plants...in every vote. They just have to get to 66% in the house. And Lawrence remains an island.

Ogallala_Kid 5 years, 11 months ago

repast: "You really think one worker on those plants would be from Kansas?"

Uhhh, idiot. Yes. Maybe ask those around that area who constructed the existing plant? Quite a few Kansans. including some of my relation..... and from a pretty wide area.

jayhawklawrence 5 years, 11 months ago

One of the problems with getting this passed is that the Republicans no longer have much credibility. The Right Winger stuff they spew got old half way through the Iraq War.

Now they tell us about millions of dollars in revenue and thousands of jobs and leading the world in the highest clean coal technologies...

Just like all of the other stories they have been feeding us for too long, the more we examine it, the more lies and BS we discover.

Does nothing ever change with these people?

Richard Heckler 5 years, 11 months ago

Special interest money turns the majority of the Kansas legislature into dummies. They continue to vote for old worn out and/or very expensive technology. Not very smart with our tax dollars.

The media has become a large part of the special interest takeover of our process as if they know what is best for all of us. Voters support this takeover by voting for those candidates who spend the most money and the question is why?

Campaigns go too long,spend way too much money and do not necessarily provide the best available. It is up to us to stop the nonsense at the voting booths. Replace 95% of all elected officials every 4 years for the house and every 6 years for the Senate.

Not voting sends the wrong message and changes nothing.

Lets’s demand a new system and vote in Fair Vote America : http://www.fairvote.org/irv/ Demand a change on the next ballot.

The big money candidates are more beholden than ever to corporate special interests due to the very long nature of campaigns. How do they have time to do the job they were elected to do?

We need public financing of campaigns. Citizens cannot afford special interest money campaigns for it is the citizens that get left out. Let citizens vote on this issue. http://www.publicampaign.org/

Who would be against Public Funding? The special interest money providers and their bought and paid for politicians!

normal_entire_route 5 years, 11 months ago

...true maybe (without the teenage name calling) but those are temporary jobs. Then where are those folks going to get their economic development? As far as jobs go its a short term fix....best be focused on long term fixes in economics as well as the environment. This takes willpower and perseverance....qualities western Kansans often boast of possessing. All you gotta do is exercise them.

As far as the Douglas County plant I've not heard one person argue for its existence or its lack of cleanliness. It needs to be cleaned up and eventually made obsolete by alternative sources. That, just makes sense.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 11 months ago

Wind,solar and hydropower will employ more for a longer period of time for generating cleaner and less expensive energy.

Then the payback comes in jobs that caters to the above industries if Kansas does not screw around so long and lose this economic growth opportunities it to other states.

Kansas stands to lose a lot by remaining stagnant and supporting stagnant thinkers.

jayhawklawrence 5 years, 11 months ago

If Obama came out in support of these plants and explained his reasoning in a way that made sense, I might change my position. That is because for most Americans, Obama has credibility because he has just won an election fairly by showing he was the best candidate and it is only fair that he be given a chance to prove himself.

Republicans lost their credibility and their job should be to find it again, not continue with the same old dirty politics of the past. If the current Republican leadership cannot understand the hard lesson they just went through, they should lose their jobs as soon as possible and new guys should take their place.

I suggest, working more with the Democrats to find compromise solutions. That would go a long way toward regaining the trust of the American people who don't always agree with either side.

Most Americans hate politics because they don't like to be lied to and misled and they have come to expect this.

Young people especially are leaving or have left the Republican Party in droves. Trying to ram through coal plants at this time just looks like the same old Bush style politics all over again and listening to the Republican legislators eveyday trying to destroy Sebelius confirms it.

Ogallala_Kid 5 years, 11 months ago

Maybe there is just a chance that all those legislators, instead of being "bought off" by hose evil member-owned cooperatives, are doing exactly what their constitutents want.

what do you think Merrill? And how about those Democrats from Western Kansas. Do you think Rep. Eber Phelps has been "bought off?" I'd like for you to make this suggestion in person to some of these individuals.

Ogallala_Kid 5 years, 11 months ago

I don't know Jayhawk Lawrence. Because democrats from the affected areas support the plants.

Relative to the democrat-republican angle you might be missing something.

Obama and his political supports support the future of Coal. Why else would they have inserted a billion dollars into the stimulus bill to construct a new high technology Coal plant for Illinois. Obama, Emanuel, Chu are are supportive, if not responsible. The technologies are follow ons for some being proposed for Holcomb, further reducing co2 emissions.

I am having a hard time figuring out why Illinois power plant jobs are wonderful and should be celebrated by Democrats, and why Kansas power plant jobs, and enhanced tax base in SW Kansas, is condemned by Lawrence Democrats.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/05/AR2009030502138.html

jayhawklawrence 5 years, 11 months ago

Ogallala_Kid:

Good points and good questions to ask.

It has not been easy for me to get credible engineering information on these plants with all of the political nonsense getting in the way.

If you don't know what to believe, why believe anything?

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