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Archive for Thursday, February 26, 2009

Democrats, Kansas Chamber square off over coal-plant bill

February 26, 2009

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— A simmering feud between Democrats and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce has erupted over the proposal to build two coal-burning power plants.

The chamber — the largest business organization in the state — launched a postcard campaign urging voters to ask their state representatives to support House Bill 2014, which will allow construction of the 700-megawatt plants near Holcomb.

The postcard doesn’t mention the plants, but describes the bill as an economic initiative that will provide needed jobs.

That prompted this response from the Kansas Democratic Party: “In their latest round of lobbying, de-facto Republican Party operatives at the Kansas Chamber of Commerce flooded mailboxes with a postcard urging Kansans to call their legislators and support a ‘comprehensive energy bill,’ HB 2014. What they fail to mention is that HB 2014 is The Coal Bill.”

Amy Blankenbiller, president and chief executive officer of the chamber, defended the content of the mailings.

She said HB 2014, which was given preliminary approval in the House on Thursday, is more than just about the coal-burning plants.

It includes environmental provisions as well as regulatory changes that will help businesses, she said.

“The focus is to establish a strong regulatory climate in this state so that all businesses can thrive and grow,” Blankenbiller said.

Opponents of the bill say it will strip the state of needed powers to protect health and environment.

As far as the chamber being an arm of the Republican Party, Blankenbiller said that’s not true, even though in the last election, the chamber endorsed only Republican legislative candidates.

“We’d love to have Democrats on our PAC endorsement list,” Blankenbiller said. “A business agenda shouldn’t be partisan.”

Even though many Democrats have voted for chamber-backed tax cuts and other issues, she said they have not been supportive enough on a variety of key issues to win the chamber’s PAC endorsement.

The divide on the coal plants bill has been almost totally partisan.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, has three times vetoed bills by the Republican-dominated Legislature that would allow the construction of the plants.

Sebelius has cited health and environmental reasons to oppose the project, which would emit 11 million tons annually of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas scientists say causes climate change. She has also said that the plants are not needed for Kansas energy needs, but that more than 80 percent of the power will be exported out of state.

Supporters of the project say the plants would be among the cleanest coal-burning facilities in the nation.

On the eve of the House debate, Sebelius said HB 2014 was “DOA” if it reached her desk.

She argued that President Barack Obama was moving forward on limiting CO2, which made the project even more untenable. And, she said, the so-called “green” provisions in the bill had been transformed to “olive brown.”

Sebelius argued that the bill would be a step backward for Kansas, and that policymakers should focus on wind energy and alternative fuels — a strategy that would fit the state’s strength and the Obama administration’s environmental initiatives.

But Blankenbiller said new coal-fired plants shouldn’t be shut out of the state’s energy future.

“The new plants are the ones most environmentally sound,” she said.

Comments

Chris Golledge 5 years, 1 month ago

KS, There's no intrinsic problem with whatever being produced here and being sent out of state, but the proponents have used the argument that KS needs the energy as part of the justification for building them. Since most of the energy would go out of state, it isn't clear that that is a valid justification.

Since there are costs associated with the plants that would be not be born by the people who would profit from it, the people who would bear those costs are voicing opposition.

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KS 5 years, 1 month ago

Geez! We build airplanes that go out of state. We build automobiles that go out of state. We raise kids that go out of state. What the heii is wrong with our products going out of state? Do we now want to start a protectionist program for the State of Kansas? You know, like if it is produced here we can't export anythng to Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska or Missouri? What is wrong with you people? One of these days you just might run out of power to run your computer, charge your cell phone, watch your cable tv or heaven forbid, run the equipment in the operating room that will be free very soon and where are you going to find the energy? Right up the place where the sun doesn't shine because that is where you are now! How long do you want to live in the dark ages? We keep producing people, well except in Wichita, and we don't want to let those kids have anything. If you don't want a coal plant then do nuclear. Windmills are great, but they can't do it all. Good grief folks, get a life.

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Chris Golledge 5 years, 1 month ago

63BC (Anonymous) says…

"Folks, we need this project to further build out our wind capacity.

Any wind harevester will tell you, the greatest barrier they face is sufficient transmission lines to get their juice to market."

Hmm, so we need to build two power plants and transmission lines in order to have transmission lines? On the surface of it, that doesn't seem very efficient. =/

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pace 5 years, 1 month ago

unregulated out of control suck up to business no matter what it cost the citizens is what got us to our current economic state. The gops desire to deregulate banks and commerce, to let the market control environmental hazards results in bank failures and if the environment fails that will be a bigger blow than just ignoring consumer protection, it will actually ruin many farms and jobs except for the share holders in the the fast buck but dirty sellers of the cheap electricity, subsidized by the air and soil that actually should be protected by regulations.

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Reality_Check 5 years, 1 month ago

Can someone explain what advantages the coal plants will offer to KS small business owners, who the Chamber purports to represent. Esp. since the power will be sent out of state?

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OnlyLawrenceRepublican 5 years, 1 month ago

"I noticed that the President never mentioned nuclear power or off-shore drilling the other night."

You know, I spoke with Rep. Clyburn this week, the House Majority Whip, who sees eye-to-eye with Obama on almost everything. He expressed the same disappointed as to nuclear. Very interesting dynamic.

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jumpin_catfish 5 years, 1 month ago

Huh, lefties with no answers. Again? Stupid liberals.

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BrianR 5 years, 1 month ago

Huh, coal. Again? Stupid hillbillies.

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rooster 5 years, 1 month ago

Flamingdragon wins!

He's right too. xd40 and his clan would fit in perfectly in china. Just don't yap there like you do on here. You'll go missing and the gov't won't have any idea where.

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tumbilweed 5 years, 1 month ago

......again and again and again.

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Kryptenx 5 years, 1 month ago

I am dense because I don't even care to read your obscure source? Anyone can write a blog and put it on the internet, but real credibility is a little bit harder to establish. Not to mention that the article doesn't even mention what you claim it to. Please show me exactly where your source says anything about coal plants in Kansas having no impact on the environment or climate.

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logrithmic 5 years, 1 month ago

And notice this. A storage facility of 116,000 tons of coal ash at the Lawrence Energy Center. The same kind of ash that spilled in Tenessee, causing the worst environmental disaster in the country's history. Here is a map of all the other sites for "coal ash" storage:

http://projects.publicintegrity.org/coalash/

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logrithmic 5 years, 1 month ago

Thanks you Governor for standing your ground.

And for the wackos who still support coal, a little message from the other side:

http://www.alternet.org/environment/127827/bill_mckibben%3A_why_i%27m_planning_to_get_arrested_on_monday_%28and_you_should%2C_too%29/?page=entire

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63BC 5 years, 1 month ago

Folks, we need this project to further build out our wind capacity.

Any wind harevester will tell you, the greatest barrier they face is sufficient transmission lines to get their juice to market.

Coal will pay the freight on new transmission lines thereby helping greatly to develop wind.

They are not in any way competing with one another, in fact this coal project will help develop wind in Kansas.

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flamingdragon 5 years, 1 month ago

hahahahahaha! you yankees so funny. bickering back and forth about tiny coal plant. kansans so foolish. build coal plant-tell people it creates jobs. yeah, after it is built-less than 80 employees. Sell power it make to other state that is too smart to allow it inside their borders. get grey sky and sooty blanket….keep you warm during cold winters. but woman you elect think for herself and say no more coal plant. That must be what make right winger table pounders so upset that woman tell them what to do. 73blueharley godot and xd40, we have plenty of room over here for your wisdom in China. You the type of guys that we need in USA, though. You stay there and get coal plant going. Drink more beer. spend money on football. Block all spending on any type of education. Sell out jobs from nasty big bully labor unions to poor old chinese peasants to help us get out of rice paddy. Please shop at Wal-Mart. go to sleep quietly and happy. You biggest power in all world…for now.

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feeble 5 years, 1 month ago

madmike (Anonymous) says…

I noticed that the President never mentioned nuclear power or off-shore drilling the other night.

New Nuclear power plant construction is prohibitively expensive, Power plants in construction in other areas of the world are seeing substantial delays and cost over-runs, even after construction is complete. Granted $14 billion isn't much compared to the rest of the government tab this cycle, but nuclear is a hard sell even in the best of times, due to legitimate, post 9/11 security issues and more mundane nimby type objections. Financing, given the economic environment, is also an issue. Nuclear power plants typically run at a loss for the first 1/2 of their life span (about 30 years).

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farfle 5 years, 1 month ago

How much would the project further deplete the Oglalla aquifer? Compare that to wind energy.

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Kryptenx 5 years, 1 month ago

I don't think I would cite a website that can't even spell "what's". All credibility goes out the window when you can't even spell your wannabe company name.

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XD40 5 years, 1 month ago

Democrats care not for children. Look at the massive debt the Obamessiah just saddled them with. Those coal plants will have no impact on the climate or environment:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/02/25/japans-society-of-energy-and-resources-disses-the-ipcc-says-recent-climate-change-is-driven-by-natural-cycles-not-human-industrial-activity/

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Chris Golledge 5 years, 1 month ago

1029, Well, I guess some of us care about what happens to our children, or maybe even ourselves.

cross-post http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2009/feb/26/carbon-footprint/#c826599

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madmike 5 years, 1 month ago

I noticed that the President never mentioned nuclear power or off-shore drilling the other night. Does he really believe that we can become energy independent only with solar and wind? Sounds more to me like he is back to kissing up to the far left over the energy policy.

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1029 5 years, 1 month ago

The problem with stupid Democrats is that they look too far ahead into the future. Who cares about future generations? This is here and now. Republicans know that it is best to not think too far ahead, come up with immediate and short-term solutions, and worry about the future when it gets here. Who knows how long the world will last before the rapture anyway? It seems stupid to think about 10, 20, 30 years from now when Kansans need jobs and electric today.

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logicsound04 5 years, 1 month ago

"It includes environmental provisions, and regulatory changes that will help businesses, she said.

“The focus is to establish a strong regulatory climate in this state so that all businesses can thrive and grow,” Blankenbiller said."


Really? Is this the Chamber's best effort?

First of all, the "regulatory changes" to which she refers are a DECREASE in the regulatory capability of the state, headlined by essentially eliminating the power of the KDHE.

Second of all, I think this is the first time I've heard anyone make the argument that a strong regulatory climate is beneficial to business. Usually, the argument you hear is the exact opposite--that regulation can hamstring business and stunt their growth.

Does she think no one is paying attention?

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"“We’d love to have Democrats on our PAC endorsement list,” Blankenbiller said. “A business agenda shouldn’t be partisan.”"


Yet somehow, ours seems to be quite partisan, to the point of not supporting a single Democratic candidate...hmmmm...

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"But Blankenbiller said new coal-fired plants shouldn’t be shut out of the state’s energy future."


Probably a fairly prudent viewpoint. However, let's not forget that Sibelius tried to offer a compormise to Sunflower so that only 1 of the two monstrous coal plants would be built, and they balked.

Sorry, the pro-coal side of this debate has consistently taken a "do it our way or f*** off" approach, so it makes it incredibly hard to take their position seriously.

Typically, compromise is a better way to get something accomplished than pleading with the Republican legislators to ramrod a bill stripping the state's regulatory agency of it's powers down our throats. It makes it plainly obvious that Sunflower only cares about itself.

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BABBOY 5 years, 1 month ago

"Godot (Anonymous) says…

Sebelius needs to get with the Obama game. Obama is counting on the revenue from CO2 cap and trade permits to fund his socialist agenda. He needs all the coal fired plants out there he can get."

You really need to consider getting a life. Your silly remarks will not change the result of the last election.

Obama has nothing to do with this and you just sound a like sour loser which makes sense because McCain got clobbered in that election.

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Godot 5 years, 1 month ago

Sebelius needs to get with the Obama game. Obama is counting on the revenue from CO2 cap and trade permits to fund his socialist agenda. He needs all the coal fired plants out there he can get.

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calvin 5 years, 1 month ago

I would think that HHS Secretary wanna-be Governor Kathy would realize that saying that 80% of the power generated would be exported is a bad reason to be against these plants. All of the energy we use in KS is not produced in KS. The whole nation is on a grid and all of the power created is dumped into the grid. Who cares where the power goes? Building the plants creates jobs in KS and the plants will pay taxes in KS.

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