Archive for Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Brownback: Congress shouldn’t stand in private sector’s way on alternative energy

Sen. Sam Brownback, center, gets a guided tour of the Bowersock Mills and Power Co. Brownback touted renewable energy sources like hydroelectricity during a stop in Lawrence on Tuesday. Owner-operators Stephen Hill, left, and Sarah Hill-Nelson answered Brownback’s questions.

Sen. Sam Brownback, center, gets a guided tour of the Bowersock Mills and Power Co. Brownback touted renewable energy sources like hydroelectricity during a stop in Lawrence on Tuesday. Owner-operators Stephen Hill, left, and Sarah Hill-Nelson answered Brownback’s questions.

Sen. Sam Brownback talks about alternative energy during an interview with the Journal-World after he toured the Bowersock Mills and Power Co. on the south side of the Kansas River near downtown Lawrence.

April 14, 2009

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Senator Sam Brownback, right, was in Lawrence on Tuesday getting a first-hand look at renewable energy sources. Stephen Hill, president of Bowersock Mills and Power Co., and Sarah Hill-Nelson showed Brownback the facility.

Senator Sam Brownback, right, was in Lawrence on Tuesday getting a first-hand look at renewable energy sources. Stephen Hill, president of Bowersock Mills and Power Co., and Sarah Hill-Nelson showed Brownback the facility.

U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback said Tuesday that he doesn’t want Congress to make it tougher on the private sector to supply alternative sources of energy like hydroelectric power from a dam on the Kansas River.

Brownback, R-Kan., toured the Bowersock Mills and Power Co. in Lawrence, which sells renewable energy credits to businesses to help offset the amount of carbon emissions they produce.

“Just overall in the legislation, I think they are benefiting from a pretty lucrative and active renewable energy credit market now,” Brownback said.

Stephen Hill, whose family owns and operates the 2.35-megawatt hydroelectric plant on the south side of the river, said the company has faced plenty of federal and state regulatory hurdles to an expansion plan that would triple its production.

“I think it’s important for those who are trying to encourage renewable energy to appreciate all of the pitfalls and the hurdles that you have to overcome in order to get something done,” Hill said.

It was the second time in a week that Brownback was in Lawrence to discuss the topic of renewable energy. Last week, he appeared with T. Boone Pickens during a forum at the Dole Institute of Politics.

Congress is currently debating a measure that would require states to meet a “renewable energy standard.” That means a certain percentage of a state’s energy must be developed from renewable sources, like hydroelectric power, wind or solar.

“I want us to be able to clean up our energy over a period of time without substantially raising electric rates,” Brownback said.

That would require making changes to the nation’s energy sector over time and in ways that make economic sense, he said.

Brownback, who is expected to seek the GOP gubernatorial nomination in 2010, also said Tuesday that he hoped construction of two coal-fired, 700-megawatt plants near Holcomb could move forward. On Monday, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius vetoed legislation that would authorize the plants, citing environmental concerns.

Brownback said the project would allow for construction of power lines to the south and into Colorado — which also could transport the state’s wind energy production.

The Lawrence Environmental Education Project is organizing a tour of Bowersock Mills and Power Co. at 11 a.m. April 25 at the plant, which is on the south side of the Kansas River at the Massachusetts Street bridge.

Pre-registration is required for the free event. To register, send an email to LEEPintoaction@gmail.com.

Comments

gil_bavel 8 years, 9 months ago

Will somebody please run against this idiot dit-brain and let us vote him out of office? Sam Brownback has been going the wrong way down a one way street for WAY too long. All he's interested in is lining the pockets of the rich at the expense of the poor. And the disparity between the two is getting bigger ever day he's in office. TTBO!

Ragingbear 8 years, 9 months ago

I love how he is trying to look "green" in this article. He has been one of the main people advocating the coal plants being built. I agree with gil. Brownback should have been removed from office years ago.

Bob_Keeshan 8 years, 9 months ago

"Brownback said the project would allow for construction of power lines to the south and into Colorado — which also could transport the state’s wind energy production."

Which, of course, totally explains why those power lines are being built anyway.

What Brownback is really saying here is he can't defend the Holcomb expansion on its merits, so he has to make up a reason. What a great leader.

leftylucky 8 years, 9 months ago

www.kansas.com/static/video/brownback-girl/

Centerville 8 years, 9 months ago

So public utilities should be run like public housing? No thanks.

Centerville 8 years, 9 months ago

So you all think public utilities should be run like public housing? No thanks.

Cricket_21 8 years, 9 months ago

It is interesting that there was MONEY in the stimulus bill to fund for a coal fired plant in Obama's home state of Illinois.

But in Kansas, Gov. Kathy seemed to think it was too dangerous for our state. Hence, she was just waving around her enviromental card. Maybe Kathy just thinks Kansans are stupid. No wait, we are just a stepping stone to her bigger and better dreams. That's it.

From the Washington Post - 3/6/09 “The fight got a lot easier after Obama was elected. Within weeks, his transition team met with FutureGen's industry partners. In January, when Obama announced his plans for an economic stimulus bill, Durbin and other members of the Illinois delegation quickly crafted a $2 billion line item to fund a “near zero-emissions power plant(s),” and Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) placed it in the Senate version of the legislation.”

Go Brownback! Bring commonsense back to Kansas.

Everyone political I talk to is presuming that he will win in 2010 and they are excited about it. Democrats have nothing. Kathy has failed to produce a legitimate predecessor and this whole coal plant issue is seen for the lie that it always was: Kathy's stepping stone for national attention.

63BC 8 years, 9 months ago

Seems like a good thing. Nice work, Senator.

Phillbert 8 years, 9 months ago

And by "not stand in the private sector's way" Brownback means government shouldn't provide anywhere near the level of subsidies to alternative energy that already go to coal, oil and gas companies.

Brownback has repeatedly voted against alternative energy, but is now trying to make himself look moderate for the election.

http://blogs.pitch.com/plog/2009/04/t_boone_pickens_loves_america.php

Scott Drummond 8 years, 9 months ago

"Stephen Hill, whose family owns and operates the 2.35-megawatt hydroelectric plant on the south side of the river, said the company has faced plenty of federal and state regulatory hurdles to an expansion plan that would triple its production."

What will a tripling of production mean to the Kaw and life in Lawrence? Why shouldn't I, through my government, have a say in those decisions? Should the business owner get to make decisions to increase his profit without regard to the public resources he is using to make his profit?

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 9 months ago

Phillbert,

What you call a subsidy, the rest of us call tax relief.

There is no private company out there that I know of that A) pays not taxes, while simultaneously B) receives a check in the mail from the government. Now that would be a subsidy.

Chris Ogle 8 years, 9 months ago

Maybe it's time for Browny to play who can be the quietest.

2002 8 years, 9 months ago

First, let me say that I am no Brownback supporter. Wouldn't vote for him at all. So what is the issue, is there some kind of problem with hydro power? Is coal a bad idea some places and a good idea other places? What keeps me from full time siding with the Democrats is that they (and their nutty followers) are inconsistent and too often dishonest on energy.

I fully support wind, solar and hydro as energy sources, but they will never meet demand, even with conservation. So the question is: what should fill the gap? Polluting coal? non-renewable oil or natural gas? The answer is nuclear. If the effort put in to all of the feel good power sources were put into nuclear technology our society could be much more sustainable. So the left is exactly like the right, they want to define sustainable with emotion and opinion rather than logic and facts.

I hope that the Hill's do expand they hydro electric output and are so successful that they need to look for other locations to expand.

And I'll vote for the next candidate for governor that supports nuclear over coal or natural gas. If the US had moved towards nuclear in the 1970's, I suspect that we wouldn't have had troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for the past few years fighting for our oil (woops I mean freedom).

Scott Drummond 8 years, 9 months ago

"I fully support wind, solar and hydro as energy sources, but they will never meet demand, even with conservation"

I'm just a nutty Democrat, but wind, solar, conservation and hydro could certainly meet all our demands. All you need to do is reduce demand enough. And there's nothing inconsistent or dishonest in that point of view.

lounger 8 years, 9 months ago

Too Little, Too late Sammy! We all know your past record on things. Now If you continue to promote "Green" energy then I will stop posting about what an A*s you have been. I guess anyone can change-Time will tell.....

2002 8 years, 9 months ago


wind, solar, conservation and hydro could certainly meet all our demands. All you need to do is reduce demand enough.


Well, if you expect everyone to live like their camping. The reality is that, good or bad society has moved beyond Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble. It's my opinion that the there are two major parties in the US and neither one has a reasonable long term energy policy. They use buzz words and feel good programs to sell the public that they care, but both parties have failed. I'm tired of the Democrats saying they are more sensitive as they follow their leader down the same path as we have followed for the past how ever many years. I'm also tired of the Republicans, like Brownback, whining about not building more coal plants which are just a repackaging of what got the US into this problem.

The answer is to: 1) conserve; 2) increase energy efficiency, 3) expand hydro, solar, wind etc. 4) build a nationwide nuclear program and 5) drill for oil. Conserve and diversify.

Scott Drummond 8 years, 9 months ago

"The answer is to: 1) conserve; 2) increase energy efficiency, 3) expand hydro, solar, wind etc. 4) build a nationwide nuclear program and 5) drill for oil. Conserve and diversify."

And part of the answer is to reduce demand by eliminating the 30 million illegal immigrants that have been imported to suppress American wages.

2002 8 years, 9 months ago

***And part of the answer is to reduce demand by eliminating the 30 million illegal immigrants that have been imported to suppress American wages.


I agree 100%.

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