Letters to the Editor

Coal stealth

February 28, 2009


To the editor:

Your Monday edition provided a great public service with the front page item about Kansas House Bill 2014, which is presented as “green jobs” legislation but actually is intended to overturn previous decisions and enable two 700-megawatt, coal-burning power plants to be built near Holcomb.

Making matters worse, the Kansas Chamber had blanketed the state with slick “stealth” postcards that tout the bill as a jobs bill. The truth is that, if the plants ever get running, they will provide only a few jobs, unless we include health care workers that are treating the increased cases of respiratory illness due to the pollution. The plants will be built mostly by out-of-state firms that have their own workers who pay taxes in their home states. (The latest segment of new U.S. Highway 59 between Ottawa and the Douglas County line is being built by a Mississippi firm.)

The Kansas Chamber caved in to the narrow interests of power industry firms with deep pockets instead of holding to their charter regarding civic responsibility.

Graham Kreicker,


labmonkey 9 years, 1 month ago

Another ignorant LTE. I love how liberals, who know NOTHING about a coal plant spew this stuff. Two 700 mW plants will create 150-200 permanent, very high paying jobs in an area where the biggest employer is a Tyson Beef plant (which pollutes much more than a coal plant with today's strict regulations ever will). This will be a huge shot in the arm for the economy of SW Kansas. These employees and a Kansas company will receive money from out of state customers. Yes, we need to build wind farms, but they will not be enough to help an already taxed grid. I can understand if these plants were being built in your backyard giving you reason to complain, but the people of SW Kansas WANT these plants. And just ask Weston, MO., LaCygne, KS., Burlington, KS (Nuke), and Montrose, MO. if they would give up their plants and the boost to the economy and tax revenues they bring. I don't see anyone of these areas giving them up.

As for pollution, clean coal regulations require strict anti-pollution systems or the plants cannot even be built. After SCU's remove NOx's, Scrubbers remove SOx's, and baghouses remove partculates, the only thing comming out of that stack is water vapor and CO2. And don't give me the AGW crap. Why does it seem like everytime a climate scientist retires from NASA, do they suddenly say "i'm free to say what I feel and I am a skeptic.?" Vostock ice cores have shown that the temperature increases first, then CO2 increases with about an 800 year lag. And take a guess when the warmest time in recorded history was....the Medieval Warm period that ended in the early 1300's. The models (which is all they are, worthless computer models) most global warming people use too narrow of a time period of the last 1000 years when they need to take into account all data they have going back hundreds of thousands of years. If anything, we will be heading into an ice age in the next 1000 years according to data that takes the last 420K years into account.

There is no good reason NOT to build these plants.

devobrun 9 years, 1 month ago

"The truth is that, if the plants ever get running, they will provide only a few jobs, unless we include health care workers that are treating the increased cases of respiratory illness due to the pollution."

What effluent from the Holcomb power plants will increase the amount of respiratory illness in Kansas, Mr. Kreicker?

labmonkey 9 years, 1 month ago


No Coal plant in this area has anything similar to the ash ponds of the TVA. Apples to Oranges.

womanwarrior 9 years, 1 month ago

If Colorado needs electricity let them put the plants in their state. Oh, yeah, they don't want them in their state. I wonder why? Maybe they are trying to get back at Kansas for winning all the water right court cases. This way they can drain Kansas water, and get electricity.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 9 years, 1 month ago

Again, another devotee to California, Al Gore and rampant stupidity pipes up. The governer has been rightly identified as an extremist on this issue, her devotion to non-existant technology is distressing. How do you plan to generate the needed electricity for a growing population? I want a real answer, not your wind-driven whirlygigs. The distrubution network for these contraptions does not exist, and the same people opposing these coal fired plants will jump up and sue to prevent the c onstruction of such networks. NIMBYS they are called, "not in my back yard"
And what do we do if some of these electrical marvels are built in Kansas and a good old Kansas tornado comes along, and blows the propellers off these gadgets and lands them in the middle of Kellog Avenue in Wichita? Thousands will be without generating power for how long? This issue is one of the most stupid and ignorant items on the looney left agenda. Just more political posturing to gain the votes of the drug addled left wing voter. And due to the misconduct of our Governer against the will of the state legislature, we, the people will be the victims of this no-science posture and the citizens will be asking "How did we let this happen"

womanwarrior 9 years, 1 month ago

ooooo, FlamingDragon, you speak a book in few words.

labmonkey 9 years, 1 month ago

Flamingdragon, you are bordering on being racist and should probably be banned.

200 High Paying permanent jobs is a shot in the arm to SW Kansas economy. Electric bills will be paid from out of state, these employees, most of who will make 60-120K per year will spend that money in their communities. Some of the best schools around here are in counties with KCPL plants thanks to the tax revenue and money the company kicks in...not to mention electric companies will throw money at infrastructure improvement projects for good PR.

Someone complained about the out of state construction jobs. Of course they will be from out of state. It will take 5-10K skilled workers to build these plants, and Holcomb and Garden City won't have that. These people will have to stay somewhere, eat somewhere, and will spend a lot of money when they are in SW Kansas. I have yet to see a SW Kansas person on here opposing this.

Wind energy is good for peak load, but you need coal for base load on the grid....but keep spouting off your ignorance and keep believing that you will be able to blog or type responses on the computer using wind and unicorn farts.

labmonkey 9 years, 1 month ago

Sorry hardcore. How inconsiderate of me. I guess I sould have brought up that rainbow driven trubine instead.

Wakemup 9 years, 1 month ago

I love how labmonkey (Anonymous) accuses liberals of not knowing anything about coal plants when he or she clearly has no facts supporting the assertions that the only things coming out of the stack are water vapor and CO2. Care to factually support this via a scientific reference? Care to provide a scientific reference which confirms that criteria pollutants, neurotoxic heavy metals and chemicals of concern, HAPS and particulate matter 10 and 2.5 aren't emitted?

devobrun 9 years, 1 month ago

Haps is defined as hazardous air pollution. Complete with epidemiological rigor. Epidemiological rigor is defined as that which supports your political goals.

Since science has been hijacked by politics, any discussion of Haps, or heavy metals, or other demons is political. Check out this list of cancer causing things in our world.


Chemophobia and other neuroses have befallen western society. The west doesn't know how to manage their life, death, or risk in general. We are a bunch of fraidy-cats.

Meanwhile the life expectancy of people continues to rise. More and more people live into their 80s and 90s.
The world isn't going to end in 20 years no matter what Al Gore says. The increased chances of death due to exposure to life is being balanced by modern medicine. We live longer and die older and feel more guilty about it all the time. Guilt, that's the key.

Own up to your guilt, whackos. Eat those nuts and berries, go green, look for alternatives. But over all, you must promote guilt.

All you old hippies who rejected the old men with their black horned-rim glasses in 1965 have become just like them. You replaced the guilt of Jewish mothers and the Catholic church with your own version. Guilt, I tell ya. We must feel guilt. We must be guilty.

Leave me out of your guilt trips. I didn't buy original sin in 1965, I don't buy your "green" version now.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

I'm sure glad we have Devo around, cause he's clearly not tainted at all by political ideology (heavy sarcasm.)

Wakemup 9 years, 1 month ago

Devo apparently never heard of chemistry, atmospheric and environmental sciences, toxicology, air modelling including deposition and speciation, medicine or public health.

Sorry Devo-the political ideological fantasy-land stuff, logical fallacies and distraction rants don't work on someone who is reality and science based. Better luck next time.

Wakemup 9 years, 1 month ago

These are emission amounts for some of the pollutants on a permit to install application of a proposed 750 MW supercritical pulverized coal plant using Powder River Basin Coal in Michigan. One can clearly see that lab monkey mislead people about emissions of pollutants: Long Term Emission Totals: Carbon Monoxide: 4,683 tons per year Nitrogen Oxide: 1,555 tons per year Sulfur Dioxide: 2,678 tons per year Particulate Matter: 880 tons per year Particulate Matter10: 806 tons per year Volatile Organic Compounds: 130 tons per year Lead: 0.34 tons per year (680 pounds per year) Sulfuric Acid: 102 tons per year SO1Boiler (Coal-fired) Stack: Arsenic: 0.92 tons per year (1,840 pounds per year) Mercury: 0.054 tons per year (108 pounds per year) Chromium: 0.42 tons per year (840 pounds per year) Cyanide: 0.39 tons per year (780 pounds per year

The need for 10 million gallons of water a day to run the coal plant was stated. The total circulating fluid volume in the cooling tower listed at 418,000 gallons per minute.

George Lippencott 9 years, 1 month ago

Yes, coal is a pollutant. It also runs our air conditioners and furnaces. It sounds to me like whole bunches of people just want coal to go away. I guess our air conditioners and furnaces should go away also! You know, Kansas is very hot in the summer.

We cannot get from here to the new "clean" utilities in a heartbeat Let us have the new plant and close down our dirty one. Let us also have an ambitious energy efficiency program that does not punish our weaker citizens. That should help minimize future needs for dirty coal!

Slogans will not get us through this. Thoughtful planning and consideration for all of us just might!

Bill Griffith 9 years, 1 month ago

I have seen the coal ash repository at LEC and it does have some similarities to the one in Tennessee. Hopefully it is in much better shape. But without more site checks from EPA mandated by Congress, who is to know? Looks like regulation is coming to this little niche fairly soon.

jonas_opines 9 years, 1 month ago

I'm not sure which is worse, flamingdragon's rather insulting Chinese person impression, or that they think China needs any of our coal.

ecogenius 9 years, 1 month ago

The jokes on all the earth savers. China owns the U. S. and they'll burn coal for as long as they exist. They are ancient in terms of civilization and we are sooo young. The whole earth is connected so when they burn we all get the result. Any different opinion is naive and unscientific. Our government will never do or say anything to stop them - as I said they own all of our debt. We'll just go on happily buying the products they produce from their coal powered industry and smile as we beat ourselves up over the minute contribution our coal plants make to the global output. I'm laughing at those of you who have children that will work for the Chinese the rest of their lives and talk of the day their parents and grandparents sold them into servitude. I'd rather live a short poisoned FREE life than the one your children will suffer.

devobrun 9 years, 1 month ago

bozo: This is a comment section regarding a LTE in the LJW. This is not a technical publication. Thus, I am engaging in opinion, philosophy, and politics. I don't believe in CO2 as the main culprit in the climate changes that we are seeing.

Jim Hansen does. Jim Hansen is director of GISS. In this role he represents climate change science. He is a government employee who claims to have been silenced by the Bush administration, yet he travels the world delivering speeches in support of his opinion. He is engaged in politics while claiming it to be science.


Watch the film and judge for yourself.

Or read about his recent awards:


The military uses terms involving cluster... and circle.....

He is riding a wave of popularity that has rendered his ability to do science null. He is a "communicator", yet he is championed as a great scientist. Yep, science as fame. Science as political action.

Oh, Wakemup, science used to be reality. It included the requirement for the test. The experiment was the science. Today we have replaced this requirement with computer model runs. Not reality anymore. You are living in a world that has you hoodwinked into believing that it knows. It runs the computer, it has peer-review. The science of today always has an answer, whether it knows or not. The math ignorant masses buy it. It is a great place to be if you are a charlatan. It is a great place to be if you are P.T.Barnum.

jonas_opines 9 years, 1 month ago

"China owns the U. S. and they'll burn coal for as long as they exist."

Likely not. They've already started to realize how badly they are destroying their own environment, and how toxic their cities are becoming. That's why their recent projects have revolved around Hydroelecticity, such as the Three Gorges Dam. (which of course proposes its own set of problems)

"They are ancient in terms of civilization and we are sooo young."

Except of course that their current society and modern civilization have little in common with their Dynastic past except for their tendency towards autocracy.

"We'll just go on happily buying the products they produce from their coal powered industry and smile as we beat ourselves up over the minute contribution our coal plants make to the global output."

Per capita we here in the US still produce about 5 times as much CO2 as China.

George Lippencott 9 years, 1 month ago

logrithmic (Anonymous) says… "What we need to do is get used to warmer summers and living with heat. Our forefathers did not need ac did they?"

Maybe you, but not me. My house is not constructed to cool by convection. I will need power. I'll take yours and you can sweat!

Why isn't it on the table? We do all live in nice little boxes!

Bob Hechlor 9 years, 1 month ago

I would be in favor of coal plants under one condition. All of the posters here who favor it will volunteer to work in the coal mines, allow digging for coal in their backyards, which means they have to move to where the digging will take place, allow the waste to be stored in their back yards, and volunteer to pay for all of the health related expenses that come about as a result of the mercury and other pollutants and perform what is needed to make up for the slaughter of species required for this whole process. If you and your comrade coal lovers are willing to do these things and sign a contract to do it and if you fail, you will be prosecuted for fraud, destruction of property and battery, unnecessary cruelty and death of animals, which will carry a life sentence of hard labor, then I will assume that you will take responsibility for your decision and accept the penalties that result, then I will go along with it.

Bob Hechlor 9 years, 1 month ago

75 % of Kansans don't want coal plants. Do consumers have rights or has the Republican party placed themselves in the position of believing that they are the parternalistic caretaker of Kansans and know what is best, so therfore they can do what they want? Just as in Missouri, the citizens didn't want nuclear power, voted against it, but the Repubs decided they will have at least one and maybe two of them anyway. Can we get the soldiers back from Iraq to help bring about democracy in America?

Bob Hechlor 9 years, 1 month ago

No takers? I guess as long as others are suffering and not you, it is okay. How is that for narcissism?

Bob Hechlor 9 years, 1 month ago

Narcissism, the reason we don't have to worry about socialism in the USA. Socialism requires cooperation. No worry of that, I'm positive. It's every hearless soul for himself or herself, so no problems here.

Bob Hechlor 9 years, 1 month ago

China is doing considerably more than we are to stop their pollution. Their citizenry is smart enough to know it is a problem.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 1 month ago

If we want this country to be energy independent, coal is going to have to be a part of the equation. Vaporwear energy sources don't feed the bulldog. Neither does casting this as a chickenhawk argument. I'm throwing a pre-emptive Godiwn flag on loggy, cause you know he's gonna go there eventually.

Bob Hechlor 9 years, 1 month ago

We don't only don't need coal. We will add greatly to our suffering if we use it. The costs could be far beyond what is acceptable. This is sort of like, the house is on fire, but we don't need to put it out, we just need to figure out how to live with it. The argument for coal is essentially the same.

Bob Hechlor 9 years, 1 month ago

So, snap, are you ready to sign the contract. How soon will you be moving to the coal pits?

Bob Hechlor 9 years, 1 month ago

The pro-coalers also need to volunteer to start cleaning up the toxic coal ash in Roane County in Tennessee. How soon will you get started on that? Also start thinking about which mountains you want to get rid of and which rivers will be okay to pollute and how many fish shall we commit to killing off?

Bob Hechlor 9 years, 1 month ago

Think about the future when going fishing will be going to the river bank and picking up the dead fish that are rotting and figuring out how to prepare them so they won't kill you.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 1 month ago

The chickenhawk business doesn't fly, shrinkwrap.

Bob Hechlor 9 years, 1 month ago

So you are ready to sign the contract Snapwrap?

Bob Hechlor 9 years, 1 month ago

So Snap, you are so certain that coal is the way to go, put your money where your mouth is. Sign the contract.

Bob Hechlor 9 years, 1 month ago

"Making matters worse, the Kansas Chamber had blanketed the state with slick “stealth” postcards that tout the bill as a jobs bill. "

Yes and the Chamber has also volunteered to be at the opening of the coal plants and will provide free colored filter masks with the "Coal Energy" logo on it. After that, you have to buy your own.

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