Archive for Monday, February 9, 2009

KDHE secretary issues carbon dioxide guidelines relating to power plant permits

A new proposal from Gov. Kathleen Sebelius may soon have coal-burning electric power plants facing restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions.

February 9, 2009, 5:15 p.m. Updated February 9, 2009, 6:26 p.m.


— Kansas’ top environmental official, backed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, on Monday issued an “interim guidance document” that said only proposed coal-burning electric power plants will face restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions in the state permitting process.

New proposals for power plants will need to include carbon dioxide reductions and offsets like wind and solar power, said Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Roderick Bremby.

Sebelius quickly issued a statement supporting Bremby. “Now is not the time for new coal plants in Kansas,” she said.

Both she and Bremby said the new policy set the record straight that, absent federal action, the only permits for which KDHE will take CO2 into account are for new power plants.

“For the past year we’ve seen legislators, lobbyists and even the Chamber of Commerce run a fear campaign, telling businesses they’re in jeopardy because KDHE denied one single permit,” Sebelius said.

Sebelius was referring to when Bremby in 2007 denied two 700-megawatt coal-burning electric power plants in southwestern Kansas, citing the project’s emission of climate-changing carbon dioxide.

Supporters of the plants have long complained that Bremby’s decision was unfair because CO2 emissions are not regulated and that Bremby did not establish any regulations on existing coal-fired plants.

Last year, Kansas lawmakers passed three bills to overturn Bremby’s action but they were all vetoed by Sebelius. Developers of the project, Sunflower Electric Power Corp., have challenged Bremby’s decision in federal and state courts, and are back before the Legislature seeking assistance.

But on Monday, Bremby said the new interim policy will ease the transition that may come under President Barack Obama to reduce climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions.

“KDHE has approved thousands of permits, allowing new and existing companies to prosper in Kansas,” Bremby said. “But with the new presidential administration, and imminent action from the EPA on the horizon, we know that there will be new federal guidelines concerning CO2.

“In the meantime, we now have an interim guidance document that clarifies for Kansas businesses what is expected of them at the state level. By taking action today, we’ll be better off tomorrow,” he said.

When told of Bremby’s action, Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said he would oppose such guidelines.

Morris, an ardent supporter of the proposed power plants near Holcomb, said since CO2 guidelines were not in a state statute it didn’t seem that Bremby could just establish them. And he said it wasn’t fair that the proposed Sunflower plants, which would be cleaner burning than older, existing ones, should be put on hold and face tougher scrutiny.

“I have a dim view of that,” he said.

KDHE said it was focusing on electricity-generating facilities because they account for more greenhouse gas emissions, 34 percent, than any other sector. Decisions on new permits will have long-lasting consequences, Bremby said, because the plants typically last 30 to 50 years.


frank mcguinness 8 years, 8 months ago

XD40- At least your links are no longer to a conservative thinktank. Unfortunatly for you, hoax or not, sunflower won't be building the smoke stacks anytime soon.

KUGreenMachine 8 years, 8 months ago

hmmm, I wonder what all of that brown stuff is in the air around Denver and California??? I'm glad that somebody in the Kansas state government is willing progress us just a little bit closer to the 1980's. Someday we can only hope that it will reach the 90's, but that might be pushing steps..

spankyandcranky 8 years, 8 months ago

I think if new guidelines are issued, they should address new AND old plant emissions -- just like cars do -- with older models getting a little leniency. I prefer to breathe clean air! It's time for Kansas to clean up it's act, even if some of it's residents don't think so.

OnlyLawrenceRepublican 8 years, 8 months ago

Regardless of your position on the merits of the Sunflower issue, Bremby's actions continue to surprise me because of their extra-procedural nature. Whether he made the right decision on the permit or not, there is a good argument that his page-and-a-half letter order was substantively deficient because the utter lack of substantive evidence. Now, while guidance is certainly helpful, it is amazing to me that he chose to put himself in a position where it can be argued that he is prejudging permit applications under an admittedly discriminatory standard.

Budgets_Smudgets 8 years, 8 months ago

I would agree with OnlyLawrenceRepublican, and not_holroyd.If CO2 is really an issue, it should be thoughtfully regulated across a much broader set of generators. I thought that was the expressly announced intent a year ago.It looks to me that the Governor and Bremby are left in the position of defending a policy which may not have a rational basis. And it also looks like their position is picking on western Kansas.

yankeelady 8 years, 8 months ago

i love it. Morris has a "dim view". Dim being the operative word. Why is he so determined to have those coal plants built to serve the people of Colorado???

frank mcguinness 8 years, 8 months ago

Lawsuit or not the stacks won't be built. Right or wrong its a win-win for Bremby. If Bremby wins the suit, He Wins.If he loses the suit he becomes a martyr for the cause like Phil Kline and abortion. He Wins.

63BC 8 years, 8 months ago

Everyone who logged on in Lawrence to read this article did so using juice from an old, dirty coal-fired plant. If this is really about the environment, why not approve the new less-polluting plants and deny the renewal applications for the old ones?

notajayhawk 8 years, 8 months ago

Luckily, after chatty Kathy takes her new job in D.C., the legislature will be able to relegate Mr. Bremby's proposals to their proper place - into the void of insignificance.

deskboy04 8 years, 8 months ago

Build the power plants. Build the bypass.

pace 8 years, 8 months ago

KDHE is suppose to protect Kansas not determine who the highest bidder for the rights to spoiling our air and soil is. Good for them. If the coal burning plants plan includes safeguards like these then light them up. If they don't, it will cost too much and too bad that the profits of the company hoping to use the air and soils of Kansas as a free dump are challenged.

Mixolydian 8 years, 8 months ago

He's had over a year to enact regulations on this issue. I haven't looked at any of the KDHE enabling statutes, but I would guess that this “interim guidance document” was put out because the KDHE does not have the statutory authority to promulgate any regulations on this topic.I'd love to know the back story on this. Did the KDHE attorneys advice Bremby of this or did they try to push regs through but got shot down during the Attorney General's review? How about the LJ World fire off an open records request? Any shot down regs floating around out there?

Stanley Rasmussen 8 years, 8 months ago

This seems really disingenuous on Sec. Bremby's part. If he was truly after CO2 emissions he should also target cement kilns, natural gas fueled power plants, and essentially any fuel burning industry in the state....but he won't. He should also ban all field burning on farm and ranch land in the state....but he won't. I could go on and on, which is why his proclamation is arbitrary, disingenuous and harmful to Kansas. Instead he should be fighting to help improve our Kansas economy...but he won't.

JSpizias 8 years, 8 months ago

Think any of this has anything to do with the Guv being under consideration for Obama's cabinet? She is just trying to show how "with it" she is and how great she would be as a member of the O team.

JSpizias 8 years, 8 months ago

Download and read the report prepared for the US Congress by Paul Parfomak, a specialist in Energy and Infrastructure of the Congressional Research Service. It describes in detail how unrealistic is a lot of the stuff being touted on "carbon control". One wonders if those touting "plug in hybrid" cars think that electricity can be generated without CO2 (and they usually oppose nuclear generation).The report is available at the JunkScience url below.,2933,488546,00.html Control in the U.S. Electricity Sector: Key Implementation UncertaintiesBy Paul W. ParformakCongressional Research ServiceDecember 23, 2008Download the full report (25 pages, PDF format) "Could plug-in hybrid cars actually increase greenhouse gas emissions? Is energy efficiency being oversold as a greenhouse gas reduction measure? A new report from the research arm of Congress raises troubling questions about the direction in which President Obama is taking us.Produced by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Carbon Control in the U.S. Electricity Sector: Key Implementation Uncertainties provides the lowdown on a variety of carbon control options for the electric power sector, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, nuclear power, advanced coal technology, carbon capture and sequestration, plug-in hybrid vehicles and small-scale power generation technologies.

hornhunter 8 years, 8 months ago

'Both she and Bremby said the new policy set the record straight that, absent federal action, the only permits for which KDHE will take CO2 into account are for new power plants.'In this statement it does not say coal fired power plants, just new power plants. So does Queen Kathy still get her bio lab?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.