Archive for Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sierra Club tries anew to block coal plant

August 4, 2009


— An environmental group said Monday it has launched a new legal attack on a proposed coal-fired power plant in southwest Kansas.

The Sierra Club filed a request Friday in U.S. District Court in Washington for an order to force the federal Rural Utilities Service to study the potential environmental effects of the coal plant and to look for alternatives for generating electricity.

Sunflower Electric Power Corp. wants to build the plant in Finney County. The Hays-based utility and Gov. Mark Parkinson brokered a deal in May to clear state regulatory hurdles to the plant’s construction and win passage of legislation promoting renewable energy and conservation.

The deal had bipartisan legislative support, but environmentalists oppose the coal-fired plant. The RUS, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, must sign off on Sunflower’s plans because the agency guaranteed past construction loans for the company.

“The federal government needs to evaluate options before it moves ahead with a risky project,” said Stephanie Cole, a Sierra Club spokeswoman.

The group is being represented by attorneys for Earthjustice, another national organization hoping to stop the plant.

The USDA did not immediately respond to phone calls or e-mails from The Associated Press seeking comment late Monday. Sunflower spokeswoman Cindy Hertel said the utility disagrees with the environmentalists’ position that federal law requires an environmental study, which she called unnecessary.

She said the utility was not surprised by the court filing.

The new plant would have a capacity of 895 megawatts, enough to meet the peak electricity demands of 448,000 households, according to one state estimate. Much of the new power would be sold to out-of-state electric cooperatives.

Sunflower previously wanted to build two 700-megawatt plants in Finney County. But in October 2007, the state rejected an air quality permit, citing the plants’ potential carbon dioxide emissions.

The dispute between the Democratic governor’s office and the utility spilled into the Republican-controlled Legislature, which blocked “green” energy legislation and tried unsuccessfully to override the permit denial. Parkinson’s deal with Sunflower to allow one coal-fired plant also required lawmakers to approve that legislation.


Bill Griffith 8 years, 10 months ago

So timing wise on this upcoming permit fight we have two variables. This RUS filing and whether Sunflower and the State of Kansas must adhere to EPA's opinion that a full-blown permit application is required for Holcomb II.

tolawdjk 8 years, 10 months ago

I would -love- to see KDHE's justification that it doesn't need a new application.

You can't write a permit for an 895 MW power plant if you don't have an application for an 895 MW power plant. Sure, you can probably modify the existing app, but the permit is still going to have to go through public comment, which will just restart the enviros complaining clock.

KEITHMILES05 8 years, 10 months ago

The Sierra Club needs to stick it in their pie hole.

puddleglum 8 years, 10 months ago

I am glad they blocked it. wasn't the slt just an excuse to use federal funds to buy up right of way from uh, who owned all that land out there? I always forget. (and don't wanna be disappearedededd)

labmonkey 8 years, 10 months ago

Sierra Club and common sense have never mixed.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

The deal is there is no such thing as clean coal.... not yet. If there was it would a very expensive source of electricity. Why do so many want to pay more for electric power?

Taxpayers/tax dollars insure coal power plants because no one else is interested.

Taxpayer/tax dollars finance construction of coal power plants because of huge costs and no one else is interested.

Of course wind,solar and hydro power are quite available as we speak. Nationalizing energy would be a great step in reducing costs dramatically because it would eliminate high dollar spending on what privatized energy producers add to the actual cost of providing energy such as: • its bureaucracy • profits • high corporate salaries • advertising over charges • sales commissions • Shareholders… are the primary clients not ratepayers • Special interest campaign dollars Golden parachutes

Because of all the above explains why nationalizing energy would be best for rate payers across the board. Privatized deregulated energy is taking all ratepayers to the cleaners.

The bottom line is Sierra Club is very smart about economics and job growth. Sierra Club does its' homework and knows well that polluted air is unhealthy thus driving up the cost of medical care/medical insurance.

Also new energy development will develop thousands of new jobs for Kansas in a variety of areas. Teaching,manufacturing and servicing, New energy development will economically impact the entire state economy not just Finney County.

New energy will provide farmers with new income for the use of their lands.

Steve Miller 8 years, 10 months ago

Sierra club sucks, let them resist when it's dark.. see how they like that. Dude, grab another tree.. i like my air conditioner.... coal is good. get a grip, smell the coffee... bring on the coal fired plant...

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