Archive for Monday, February 23, 2009

Lumps of coal wrapped inside ‘green’ package

February 23, 2009


— For the second straight year, Kansas lawmakers have put green wrapping around a carbon dioxide-emitting coal-fired power project.

Legislative leaders say House Bill 2014, which would pave the way for construction of two 700-megawatt coal-burning plants near Holcomb, will be up for a vote this week.

“It’s a pretty comprehensive bill,” House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, said.

The legislation incorporates more than a dozen bills that would implement sweeping changes in state energy policy, including several “green” initiatives aimed at increasing the use of renewable energy sources, such as wind.

But the core of the bill includes changes that would essentially require that Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Roderick Bremby issue permits for the Holcomb project in southwestern Kansas.

Bremby denied the permits in 2007, citing environmental and health effects of the project’s emission of 11 million tons per year of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that scientists say is contributing to destructive climate change.

The Legislature spent much of the 2008 session passing legislation to reverse Bremby’s decision, but Gov. Kathleen Sebelius vetoed the attempts and efforts to override her fell just short of the two-thirds majority needed in the House.

Developers of the project — Hays-based Sunflower Electric Power Corp. and Colorado-based Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association — are seeking to have Bremby’s decision overturned in court.

But they also are seeking legislative help again. O’Neal said the Legislature needs to act because it is unknown when the legal process will run its course.

“The court is on its own timetable. That timetable doesn’t fit our timetable in terms of if we’re going to do the project,” O’Neal said.

O’Neal said he believes he has the votes in his chamber to override an expected Sebelius veto — 84 votes in the 125-member House. In the 40-member Senate, 27 votes are needed to override.

But opponents of the project say they will be able to uphold a veto.

The project, they say, is even more untenable now than last year because of the election of President Barack Obama, who has vowed to address greenhouse gases.

Last week new EPA administrator Lisa Jackson set in motion a process that could lead to regulations of CO2.

David Bookbinder, chief climate counsel for the Sierra Club, said Jackson’s decision “should cast significant further doubt on the approximately 100 coal-fired power plants that the industry is trying to rush through the permitting process without any limits on carbon dioxide.”


cdcass 9 years, 3 months ago

That is the least of their concerns unfortunately. Some see that as a primary issue, and while it is, other very serious issues are at stake as well. Some only concern themselves with the money, others with health issues that are never taken into consideration-especially given the fact that some do not consider health issues a viable concern. It really is unfortunate that more people will not educate themselves on the true concerns of CO2 and how it poisons our planet and the health of our citizens. Sebelius essentially has her hands tied on this, and this new speaker, from all I have heard is no picnic for moderates to work with. I have fought against this hard, so have many others and it seems a futile fight when we are surrounded by both party legislatures who do not feel money is better spend on greener technology - Kansas is poised to be a leader in the industry, just too bad the leaders who represent this state can't see through the carbon emissions to make the needed changes. The money would be well worth the investment. Speaking on the money part - funds would be saved in the end, is that not the whole point? Wish they more examples on which they base their votes. Just like a couple of years ago when all the Republicans, and yes even some Democrats voted against raising the minimum fuel standards-no foresight.

cdcass 9 years, 3 months ago

Logrithmic- Thank you - I hope your post will be read and understood. This is logic! Well stated!

grimpeur 9 years, 3 months ago

Hey O'Neal: sit down and shut up, you grandstanding horse's arse.

rdave13 9 years, 3 months ago

Very good logrithmic...if only Tom Sloan would live up to his pre-Legislative session statement in the LJW article that he was going to concentrate on critical issues that impacted state

Dale Stringer 9 years, 3 months ago

Well, if they don't get the permit because of the amount of CO2 they are going to put out, then the state should also close all the other plants we already have that are already putting out more CO2 than these plants would.

average 9 years, 3 months ago

We're building it in Kansas, because Colorado won't let them build it in Colorado (where almost all the demand for the power is coming from).

If nothing else, we should figure a way that Colorado consumers pay a 2c/kWh tariff on that power, and that is translated to a 2c/kWh or more discount on western Kansas consumers, as their payback for accepting Colorado's unwanted stepchild. Any extra funds from that tariff go to bonds for green energy, conservation, and environmental mitigation projects in Kansas.

To me, it's not just that Kansas legislators are selling off the farm (our air and scarce aquifer water), it's that they're giving it away the farm, for basically no recompense, mostly as a temper tantrum because Kathy told them no.

georgeofwesternkansas 9 years, 3 months ago

It is really too bad there is not another source of energy for us to use that will not empty the pockets of everyone to get it built.

SettingTheRecordStraight 9 years, 3 months ago

Hmmm. Do you think the story's headline reveals a bias against the power plants?? Of course it does!

And as an aside, why is the Sierra Club even given ink on these pages?

yankeelady 9 years, 3 months ago

We got a "robocall" yesterday, urging us to call our Representative and ask them to support it. It didn't say what just the House Bill number. We will contact our legislators, and urge them to NOT support this. No new coal, and lets clean up the ones we already have.

Ralph Reed 9 years, 3 months ago

Logrithmic, Good post at 0730. Brought everything together in one package.

feeble 9 years, 3 months ago

Kansas should not be a dumping ground for Colorado's power problems. For once, dung shouldn't roll down hill.

Sweeten the pot, or find another state.

Chris Ogle 9 years, 3 months ago

If at first you fail.... just stop.. no sense making a damn fool of yourself.

Poon 9 years, 3 months ago

Sven Erik Alstrom (parrotuya) says…

I am certain that our illustrious legislature will find a way to tax cut their way out of this problem.

More and bigger tax cuts!

SettingTheRecordStraight 9 years, 3 months ago

"What?!? The environmental regulatory agency did it's job and denied permits for a new plant that would subsidize the revenue of two 700-megawatt coal plants with the air quality of all Kansans??" - bozo

Show me the air quality standard by which these decisions are made. Or are they made arbitrarily perhaps?

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