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Archive for Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bill connected to coal plant clears committee

May 7, 2009

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Sunflower Electric coal plant

After months of debate and legislative battles, Sunflower Electric Power Corp. will be allowed to build a new, coal-fired power plant in Southwest Kansas. Trace the history of the disagreement and look back on how we got here.

— Construction of a coal-fired power plant in southwest Kansas moved closer to reality Wednesday as a key piece of legislation cleared an early hurdle.

The bill contains renewable energy proposals backed by Gov. Mark Parkinson, who made its passage a condition of his agreement to a deal allowing Sunflower Electric Power Corp. to build an 895-megawatt power plant near Holcomb in Finney County.

Members of the Senate Utilities Committee endorsed the bill Wednesday night with minor changes, setting the stage for debate expected today in the full Senate.

The legislation requires that all utilities generate 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. It also contains other “green” provisions to promote conservation and renewable energy, including incentives for consumers to use wind- and solar-powered generators.

Sunflower Electric, based in Hays, initially planned to build two coal-fired plants in southwest Kansas. But then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ administration denied an air-quality permit for the project in October 2007, over concerns over carbon dioxide emissions.

“I understand there are a few legislators who have such an ideological objection to coal that they can’t vote for any bill that would allow that and I respect that,” Parkinson told reporters Wednesday. “When you look at this settlement in its entirety, it is good public policy for the state.”

Parkinson began negotiating the agreement when he took office April 28, after Sebelius resigned to become U.S. secretary of health and human services.

The single power plant now planned by Sunflower could generate enough electricity to meet the peak demands of 448,000 households.

Senate President Steve Morris, a Hugoton Republican, predicted easy passage of the renewable energy measure, which appears to have widespread support.

As the dispute between Sunflower and the governor’s office dragged out for 19 months, Morris said, he never lost hope that the conflict could be resolved.

The plant also is seen as economic development for western Kansas, with some 1,500 construction jobs for the four years need to build the plant.

“To me, rational people would ultimately win out,” said Morris, who supported two coal plants.

If the bill becomes law, Sunflower will end multiple lawsuits against the state challenging the denial of its permit.

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

“I understand there are a few legislators who have such an ideological objection to coal that they can’t vote for any bill that would allow that and I respect that,”

Wrong, Governor, the objection is not "ideological." Coal is dirty, dangerous and unsustainable. That is the objection.

Chris Golledge 5 years, 7 months ago

Yeah Bozo, you beat me to it. I was thinking that concerns based on physics/thermodynamics are not really ideological.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

Furthermore, the so-called "green" policies that accompany this sell out are paltry compared to surrounding states, who are seriously interested in improving their energy efficiency and promoting renewables. The measures being considered are not placing Kansas in a competitive position for the future--it's just like what the US automobile industry did in the 90s when we made some really bad choices to ignore the writing on the wall.

It's nice that Siemens is putting a wind generator plant in Hutchinson--too bad we're not supporting those Kansas workers with policies that will land those windmills in our state.

Wake up folks!

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 7 months ago

Shame on Sunflower for bowing to the demands of the Enviro-Left. Pathetic.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 7 months ago

It's right to follow existing CO2 emission standards and build the two plants it wanted to, all without the costly and unnecessary caveats.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

You've expressed that ill-founded opinion many times, STRS, but I'd still like to know what Sunflower gave up in this agreement.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 7 months ago

bozo,

I don't mean to be dense, but what am I missing or are you not getting? Sunflower had to abandon its plan to build two plants. Remember: "Sunflower Electric, based in Hays, initially planned to build two coal-fired plants in southwest Kansas."

Now the government will only allow it to build one plant. Doesn't walking away from 50% of its business plan reflect something Sunflower "gave up"?

Bill Griffith 5 years, 7 months ago

Sunflower has the right to come back and request a permit for a second plant in 2011. In their original plans one plant would be built now and the next would be added in 2010 or 2011. Sunflower has not abandoned their plans at all, they will apply for the permit if Tri-State signals that TS would like the power from a second plant and their is no large, regulatory obstacle. BTW, did anyone notice that the 1% that Sunflower is required to spend on ee can be credited to any money invested in their bioenergy center, even if nothing comes of the algae reactor plans?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

As belexus73 points out, STRS, they can request a second plant in 2011, with the possibility of having more than 1400 kw capacity they originally requested.

There is some small amount of compromise in this bill, but none of it is coming from Sunflower-- they'll even be exempt from the net-metering provision.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 7 months ago

belexus,

What the government has given Sunflower Electric (and all of western Kansas) is half of what they asked for. I don't see how that's a victory for progress and industry.

Of course, Sunflower can come groveling back to in 2010, begging for approval of the second half of their business plan. That is no victory.

On top of that, please show me the state's CO2 standard by which the government can deny Sunflower's application. How can businesses be expected to operate when there are no ground rules?

tolawdjk 5 years, 7 months ago

Bozo & cg22165: Nothing is sustainable. That big word "thermodynamics", if you understood what it meant, would tell you that. It is varying degress of unstainability we are talking here and everyone's own personal pet projects.

STRS: Sunflower didn't walk away from 50% of it's business. It has 100% of the capacity that Tri-Gen was requesting, a bit of additional peaking cap that will be a more econmically viable option to use rather than some older boilers, and retains the option to build further capacity at a later date. If Sunflower needed that capacity now, you can bet they wouldn't have agreed to this 2011 provision. It was a "giveaway" negotiating tool for them along with the two Garden City plants. It is getting 60% of the originally requested coal capacity. One could also argue that Sunflower is in a better postion given that they would only have one unit to retro fit if needed for whatever additional environmental controls with uncertain federal direction.

Sunflower wins here. Now it is up to the people of Liberal/Holcomb/Garden/Dodge to make sure -they- win as well. They sould require that Sunflower use a set portion of local contracting to provide for this construction rather than bringing in Texans/Okies for this. You got your local stimulus, make sure teh frackin money stays here.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

tolawdjk-- I never used the term "thermodynamics." It's unsustainable for a number of reasons-- heavy metal pollution, environmental damage from strip mining, increased production of greenhouse gases, etc. all make it unsustainable.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

" It is getting 60% of the originally requested coal capacity."

Not to quibble, but it's more like 64%, and as you point out, probably closer to what they really need than the original 1400 MW's.

roger_o_thornhill 5 years, 7 months ago

I can't believe the morons who post here. MORONS!

tolawdjk 5 years, 7 months ago

"just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says…

But still 100% more than they should have gotten."

Point me to the law that says coal derived power is illegal.

"SettingTheRecordStraight (Anonymous) says…

50%, 60%, 64%

It's still only some, not all."

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

snowWI 5 years, 7 months ago

Kansas will be the cesspool dumping ground for more fly ash waste, mercury pollution, sulfur dioxide pollution, and nitrogen oxide pollution. Kansas will NEVER be a leader in renewable energy. You can kiss those jobs goodbye to other states that are more innovative and progressive with renewables like Iowa, Minnesota, Texas, etc. Yes, it is a short term economic stimulus with the construction jobs generated for SW Kansas. However, the long-term prospects for western Kansas are not good in my opinion. The Ogallala aquifer will continue to see even more stress down the road as climate change warms up the average temperature and increases evaporation. Demand for irrigation water will increase, and the cost for pumping will also go way up as the aquifer level continues to decline. Too bad for all those profligate water miners.

Ogallala_Kid 5 years, 7 months ago

I thought people in Lawrence believed that Renewable Energy Portfolios and net-metering where important.

I mean, Bozo has been ranting about these for months. Bozo and many other on these boards.

But he wants to have ALL the issues his way ALL of the time.

That's not the way the real world of politics works. And that is why he will always remain truly a Bozo.

Parkinson is probably the Rhodes scholar on this whole deal, because if the financial markets/DC/CO2 cap & trade make a new plant impractical, Sunflower wins nothing, and he achieved positive environmental policy, unlike the former Gov.

Despite all the whining in Lawrence.

Now go use some of that cheap stinky power that all you Lawrence enjoy.

snowWI 5 years, 7 months ago

"Parkinson is probably the Rhodes scholar on this whole deal, because if the financial markets/DC/CO2 cap & trade make a new plant impractical, Sunflower wins nothing, and he achieved positive environmental policy, unlike the former Gov."

No, the ratepayers will be paying the price for this blunder by Sunflower. There is no way that the coal plant will operate for its entire lifespan. Proper regulations of CO2 should see to that. Also, Kansas will lose out on a lot of renewable energy R/D dollars and development that will FLOW to more progressive states that look more favorably on renewable energy. The 20% level for Kansas is just pitiful in my opinion.

snowWI 5 years, 7 months ago

"Shame on Sunflower for bowing to the demands of the Enviro-Left. Pathetic"

You sir are ignorant. This is not a right wing or left wing issue. It is a moral issue regarding whether or not we should be burning coal which is a proven danger to our health and a leading cause of climate change warming. If you want evidence of the destructive power of burning coal I would advise you to go to TN to see the fly ash contamination zone or the mountaintop removal areas of WV.

snowWI 5 years, 7 months ago

"I thought people in Lawrence believed that Renewable Energy Portfolios"

The 20% figure is very low and you know it. Kansas can do better.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Not only that, it's 20% by 2020.

Why not a whole lot sooner, considering what scientists have been advising?

snowWI 5 years, 7 months ago

"Not only that, it's 20% by 2020.

Why not a whole lot sooner, considering what scientists have been advising?"

I think the poor leadership that Kansas has had on both sides of the aisle will cement its position as a backwards thinking state. The renewable energy jobs and large-scale wind farms will see the highest growth rates in states that are the most favorable to renewable energy and have the highest percentages in the portfolio standard. Kansas leaders and Sunflower suffer from a short-term thinking perspective that will allow the state to fall well below surrounding states for R/D for renewable energy projects now and down the road.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 7 months ago

SnowWI,

You lost me at "progressive." Anyone who uses that term to describe themselves and/or their ideas is, in my experience, on the Far Left.

Jaylee 5 years, 7 months ago

PARKINSON, YOU D8CK!!!!!!!! how long in office before you catapaulted kansas back up on the list of states who literally don't give a sht about the environment in which we and others in our country are going to have to live as a result of your stupid, ill-advised, haven't even warmed up your chair yet, but i'm gonna start making waves ss!?!

what a hasty move... i wonder how much money is getting siphoned off into our new governor's pocket for having instantly declared this plant a good deal for "our state"?

its amazing what a first impression will do for an image.

you have a lot of not stupid decisions in your future if you are to regain any faith from me in your ability to properly govern this state, parkinson.

snowWI 5 years, 7 months ago

"SnowWI,

You lost me at “progressive.” Anyone who uses that term to describe themselves and/or their ideas is, in my experience, on the Far Left."

No, actually I am an independent minded person with a slight liberal bias. Like I said before, coal burning should not be a partisan issue. It should be a question of whether it is in the best interest for the health of the public and the environment itself. Having the belief that we should move away from coal and all of its externalized costs is not necessarily progressive as it demonstrates common sense. The states that have set the highest total percentage on their renewable portfolio standard for renewables will see the greatest payoff in terms of new jobs created, and more R/D dollars flowing in that may creat spin-off industries.

Bill Griffith 5 years, 7 months ago

Set the Record, thanks for the opportunity to respond. First, Sunflower gets slightly over half of what they orignially requested in the permit. But the key factor is that Tri-State is wanting less coal-fired power than they used to due to regulatory and legislative changes in Colorado. Secondly, as I mentioned they can apply for a new permit. I don't see how that is groveling if they get this one through the permit process and then initiate another permit application, but I am not going to go further on your verb usage on this point. Based upon Earl Watkin's reaction, he seems to think it is a victory. I think you are dead wrong on a lack of victory thinking from Sunflower's end of things. On Bremby's justification for CO2 regulation, you are correct that he did not justify it on a state CO2 reg. But he did not have to. The statute gives the Secretary broad powers to protect the health of Kansans. Before April of 2007 he could not have killed the permit based upon an endangerment finding on CO2. BUT after Mass. vs. EPA and the SCOTUS ruling that CO2 IS harmful, that gave him the authority to rule on this issue. Too bad this didn't get to run its course through the court system as it would have been interesting to follow.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 7 months ago

belexus,

I appreciate your insights. What bothers me is that the KDHE has the broad power "to protect the health of Kansans." That falls somewhere short of ambiguous, at best.

And if I understand your description of the SCOTUS ruling, KDHE could ban cars, motorcycles and airplanes because they produce some CO2, which they've labeled "harmful." Heck, a power plant that uses 90% renewables and 10% fossil fuels could be ruled "harmful" because of the CO2. I'm just afraid that our non-existent CO2 standard willd drive additional business out of Kansas.

notajayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

snowWI (Anonymous) says…

"The 20% level for Kansas is just pitiful in my opinion."

As opposed to no requirement at all? Brilliant.


belexus73 (Anonymous) says…

"Before April of 2007 he could not have killed the permit based upon an endangerment finding on CO2. BUT after Mass. vs. EPA and the SCOTUS ruling that CO2 IS harmful, that gave him the authority to rule on this issue."

Actually, the SCOTUS never said that CO2 was harmful. They said it fit under the EPA's rather broad definition of a 'pollutant' and as such was under their purview. They also did not specifically order the EPA to regulate CO2 emissions, only to base any refusal to do so on statute. The EPA had claimed Congress had not given them the statutory authority to regulate GHGs, the SCOTUS said Congress had. In other words, the SCOTUS did not say the refusal to regulate GHGs had to be reversed, only that they'd have to come up with reasons more in keeping with the statutes. The EPA could still refuse to regulate them under the decision, if they can justify their refusal by other means.

'"We need not and do not reach the question whether on remand EPA must make an endangerment finding. . . . We hold only that EPA must ground its reasons for actions or inaction in the statute," Stevens wrote.'

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/02/AR2007040200487.html

They also changed the burden of proof, that the EPA was wrong to refuse to regulate GHG because they weren't proven to contribute to global warming, saying it was up to the EPA to prove they do not.

tolawdjk 5 years, 7 months ago

To where, STRS? Colorado? Texas? Oklahoma?

There isn't a state in the Union I am aware of with an existing CO2 standard. The one project I am aware of that was using the "CO2 standard" as an excuse was Hyperion, and that was a red herring anyway. That refinery was always targetting SD as a preferential site...1) because if anyone thinks KDHE's standards are lax, SD's are a joke and, 2) there is also an existing tar sand pipeline within very easy drawing distance from Elk Point/Vermillion, S.D...much easier than any location within Kansas.

"Ambiguity of CO2 standards" is industry speak for "give us some major tax credits and don't ask too many tough questions."

If CO2 ambiguity was still an issue, Sunflower still wouldn't be going through with this project. This project is going back tot he permitting stage because Sunflower feels that the economic benefit outweighs the CO2 uncertainty and the inevitable Sierra Club lawsuit.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

And for nota's next trick, he'll tell us what the meaning of "is" is.

snowWI 5 years, 7 months ago

"As opposed to no requirement at all? Brilliant."

I think a 40% requirement by 2020 would be a good target.

GOPConservative 5 years, 7 months ago

Kansas should embrace coal plants, garbage dumps, nuclear waste dumps and anything else that will bring money to our State. God created Kansas as the dumping place for the rest of America. Windmills are for wimps.

notajayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says…

"And for nota's next trick, he'll tell us what the meaning of “is” is."

Sorry, boohoozo, didn't realize you didn't already know the meaning of "is.". I should have known, given the moronic level of your past few weeks' posts (even by herr klowne's standards).

What part of "We need not and do not reach the question whether on remand EPA must make an endangerment finding" did you have trouble with, boohoozo - although I suppose it could have been most of them, since all but 4 have more than 2 letters. The ruling clearly states they did NOT even consider the question as to whether the EPA should have ruled that "CO2 IS harmful" as the post I responded to claimed. Well, clear to anyone who can read the big words (in your case, that would be anything with three letters or above) and not blinded by his moronic, clownish, idiot-logical blinders.


snowWI (Anonymous) says…

"I think a 40% requirement by 2020 would be a good target."

That's nice.

Good luck with that.

When was that even considered? Even Sebelius' plan only called for 20%. Perhaps, as I said, you'd rather have nothing?

snowWI 5 years, 7 months ago

"That's nice.

Good luck with that.

When was that even considered? Even Sebelius' plan only called for 20%. Perhaps, as I said, you'd rather have nothing?"

The problem is you are the one who is using short-sighted reasoning. Other states could increase the percentage of electricity generated from renewables in the renewable portfolio over time. Kansas could easily be at a competitive disadvantage if other states decide that they want to go with a much higher figure than 20%. In fact, if Kansas had leadership on the energy issue several years ago the 20% number would be laughable because it would be very easy to reach. If you have traveled to states like Iowa, Minnesota, and Texas you will find that they are light years ahead of Kansas in terms of developing and promoting large-scale wind farms. (Of course I believe that GIS technology should be used for siting the wind farms in the best location possible given the existing transmission line infrastructure available).

Bill Griffith 5 years, 7 months ago

Notajay, thanks for the clarification on the SCOTUS. However, because SCOTUS defined CO2 as a pollutant, Bremby was able to point to the K.S.A. statute and use that as his grounds for denial of the permit. Of course, EPA has now issued an "endangerment finding" with regards to CO2 and has started that process to bring it under regulation. Within two years either through Congress or EPA CO2 will be regulated. What that means to coal plants in the permitting process remains to be seen. It will also be interesting to see how this affects the financing for these projects.

notajayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

belexus73;

I wasn't arguing that Bremby's decision wasn't supported by Mass.v. EPA, just that the ruling did not include a finding that CO2 is "dangerous." And I was going to mention that the SCOTUS ruling was now pretty much moot, given the change in administrations.

And I have no doubt we'll see some kind of legislation and/or regulation of CO2 levels. The questions will be 1) how much is too much, 2) how will that be proven, and 3) will the limits stand up to challenge?

As to 1), even if you firmly believe (i.e., if you agree with the scientific 'consensus') that anthropogenic GHGs are the cause of global warming, it's not an exact science. We might know, for example, that 'x' parts per million of a metal dust or carcinogenic fumes makes people sick. I'd like to know where they're going to come up with a number such as 'xx' amount of CO2 emissions is safe, but 'xx+1' causes global warming. Yes, there will be the usual (clownish variety) fanatics who say any amount is too much, but realistically, hundreds of poisonous substances are released into our environment every day in quantities deemed low enough that they don't present health risks.

2) Again, how do you demonstrate a given level is unsafe? With the afore-mentioned metal dusts or noxious fumes, you can always do lab testing on rats or monkeys or whatever. How do you build a scale-model planet Earth and determine how much CO2 raises the temperature (and computer models don't count)?

3) While the SCOTUS said the EPA has to prove the gases do not contribute to global warming if they're going to refuse to regulate them, you can bet that any new regs will be challenged in courts at every level by fossil-fuel plant operators (that have plenty of money), who will be able to shift that burden of proof back onto Uncle Sam.

notajayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

snowWI (Anonymous) says…

"The problem is you are the one who is using short-sighted reasoning."

Well, no. As I am neither the governor of Kansas nor one of its elected legislators, it's not my reasoning at all. And I'll point out again that the previous governor also did not try to get more than 20%. It's nice you want more. I'm sure there are fanatics (of the clownish variety) that think they should immediately turn off all the power and rebuild the grid from scratch with 100% renewables. But the legislature and the governor are being a little more realistic, and my guess is they knew there was no chance of getting more than 20%. So regardless of what level would have made you (or the clown contingent) happy, looks like the available choices were 20% or nothing. Limited to those two choices, are you saying you don't want the 20%?

snowWI 5 years, 7 months ago

"But the legislature and the governor are being a little more realistic, and my guess is they knew there was no chance of getting more than 20%. So regardless of what level would have made you (or the clown contingent) happy, looks like the available choices were 20% or nothing. Limited to those two choices, are you saying you don't want the 20%?"

You avoided answering my previous response. I expected to read a typical black and white response from you, however. Yes, the 20% is a good "start," but I think most people would expect the figure to bump up to a much higher level after 2020. It won't matter, however, because many other states will have gotten a much faster start over Kansas in terms of new wind farm construction which yields new electricity generation to the grid.

notajayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

snowWI (Anonymous) says…

"You avoided answering my previous response."

Well, let me see, I'll read it again - nope, still no question in it. What was I supposed to be answering, again?

Do you mean I somehow didn't address whatever point you were trying to make with your post? Like you still haven't answered whether you'd rather have 20% or nothing?

Pretty sure the governor and legislature have no control over what the states of Texas, Iowa, and Minnesota are doing. And believe it or not, it's not their place to be concerned with what Texas or Iowa or Minnesota are doing - they were elected to serve the people of this state. And those state senators elected by the people of Kansas just voted what, 37-2 to pass the legislation with a 20% provision?

It really doesn't matter what you think some other state "could" increase that percentage to. Or what you "expect" that figure to be by 2020. Or that you find the 20% to be "pitiful." Don't like this piece of legislation? Fine. Convince enough of your fellow Kansans to replace the legislature with one that will only settle for your 40%. (Good luck with that, by the way.) Or better still, convince enough of them to write letters to the governor and ask him to veto the bill (and also convince fully half of the senators who voted for it to reverse their vote) - then you'd have a requirement for - let me see - oh, yeah, ZERO percent.

Geez, but this area is so full of whiners. If you won an all-expense paid trip to Paris, you'd complain you had to fly coach.

notajayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

By the way, wowwie, exactly how many states have enacted legislation with a greater than 20% requirement?

Bill Griffith 5 years, 7 months ago

NotaJay, I don't think the change in administrations makes the SCOTUS ruling moot, since EPA is using that ruling to trigger the "endangerment finding" so quickly. Your example of the limit amounts is not the line of reasoning that Congress and the IPCC is using. It is not a certain amount of a gas triggers climate change. Any amount adds to the problem. It is true that some goal will have to be put in to statute and treaty. Right now Congress is working off of IPCC recommendations-which may get weakened as it goes through the political process. BTW, just to satisfy my own curiousity, where are you at on anthropogenic warming?

jayhawklawrence 5 years, 7 months ago

“To me, rational people would ultimately win out,” said Morris, who supported two coal plants

1500 construction jobs for 4 years?

We shall see in 4 years how great your plan looks Morris.

Looks to me like Kansas is ruled by a bunch of knuckle draggers.

Ogallala_Kid 5 years, 7 months ago

The vote in full senate was 37 to 2. That's only 5% Against.

Lets see.... who here is with the 5% fringe……

notajayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

belexus73 (Anonymous) says…

"I don't think the change in administrations makes the SCOTUS ruling moot"

I didn't mean literally - just that the change in the political climate makes it much more likely that GHGs would have been regulated anyway, even if the SCOTUS hadn't made that ruling.

"Your example of the limit amounts is not the line of reasoning that Congress and the IPCC is using. It is not a certain amount of a gas triggers climate change. Any amount adds to the problem."

Yeah, I understand the theory. But as I said, in reality it's unlikely we'll ever be capable of having zero levels, and even with known poisonous substances, zero levels aren't required. There will have to be some 'acceptable' level determined, and that's going to be based on opinion and political concerns more than any hard numbers.

The limits usually are determined that way, btw. A friend of mine used to work in a nuke plant - he got doused with 'mildly' radioactive water fairly often, in amounts over the 'acceptable' limit, but nobody really knows whether it was a harmful amount. They know, for example, that the amount from a watch dial isn't likely to kill you (but of course there are the zealots who think any amount is too much), and that setting off a 20 K-Ton bomb will - the exact point in between where it becomes a health hazard is kind of murky, so the levels are set somewhat arbitrarily towards the safe end, with a god-sized margin.

"where are you at on anthropogenic warming?"

I don't think it's been proven beyond a level of doubt sufficient to change the way our whole country lives. I understand that anthropogenic GHGs add to the problem - but I don't believe it created the problem, and I'm not entirely convinced that making all the changes some people want will make that much of an impact. I have a problem with 'consensus' decisions - I don't want to see the whole issue turn into the Dental Association telling us to brush side-to-side - no, wait, up-and-down - no, wait, side-to-side ... etc., with the whole country doing backflips and spending trillions in the process.

Bill Griffith 5 years, 7 months ago

NotaJay, thanks for your comments. You mention that you are not entirely convinced that It (climate change) has been proven beyond a level of doubt sufficient to change the way our whole country lives. Let me ask you this, what scientific data would you need to see that would lead you to believe that threshold you mentioned has been reached?

snowWI 5 years, 7 months ago

ravens,

Yes, western Kansas is just drowning in water even though the aquifer is still declining. I never claimed to be a southwest Kansas expert. My area of expertise is northwest Kansas which relies MUCH LESS on PROFLIGATE irrigation water to grow crops. My grandfather and is brother grew up on a cattle ranch in the Smoky Hills region of the state.

snowWI 5 years, 7 months ago

Ravens, You have a lot of time on your hands to bring up a post I made 2+ years ago. You have nothing at all to contribute to the conversation.

snowWI 5 years, 7 months ago

Also, southwest Kansas has much more in common with the TX and OK panhandles compared with the rest of the state IMO.

snowWI 5 years, 7 months ago

"In western Kansas, the vast underground pool that fills faucets, called the Ogallala Aquifer, is running low, forcing towns and farmers to spend beyond their means to tap alternative sources. ''Out here, water is like gold,'' said Ed Wiltse, mayor of Ulysses in southwest Kansas, adjusting his glasses as he runs his hands over a chart of the town's faltering wells. ''Without it, we perish.'' The aquifer nourishes vital industries on the plains -- its rich soil produces the nation's beef supply and much of its wheat and corn crops. Ulysses sits in a stretch of the corn belt where the water table has dropped about 25 feet in the last decade. Once-wild rivers have turned to gravel, and aboveground streams stopped running years ago. It's been a long time since anyone thought the sky might water their crops. As Ulysses' biggest well approaches bedrock, Wiltse's trying to figure out how the town will pay to pump water from an aquifer that each year drops farther below ground. It will only get worse, many experts say. As the central and western Kansas's water problems deepen, people are picking up and moving east, William Harrison, Kansas Geological Survey staffer who's a member of the Kansas Water Authority board, said. Looking at a map that shows population shifts are starkly illustrative, he said. Most show an accelerating loss of population, he said. "There aren't many gaining -- only a handful that are growing," Harrison said. "But there's a bucketful of counties that are losing." And the trend will accelerate, Wes Jackson, director of the The Land Institute, Salina, which is seeking to reverse the flight of small farmers and residents from the rural areas of the Great Plains, said. Water planners, who often look 20 to 50 years in advance, are overlooking global warming, which could have a significant effect on the population decline in the Great Plains, Jackson said. Jackson is among those raising the alarm about Sunflower Energy's plan to build three new large coal-fired power plants near Garden City, which he said will only aggravate the problem of global warming. "We need to be looking at other alternatives such as conservation and wind power," Jackson said. The future of water: Although conservatives pooh-pooh global warming, solid scientific evidence has shown that global warming will impact the climate, Jackson said. What that means for Kansas is still open to debate, he said. Many scientific models would indicate that Kansas will get hotter and drier, he said. "The American Southwest coming to meet us," Jackson said."

Here is some more interesting information: http://www.kwo.org/Kansas%20Water%20Plan/Cim_basin_section_081605.pdf

hornhunter 5 years, 7 months ago

snowWI I don't know where you have been for the longest time, but you need to take your BS and go back. Your mommy is calling

notajayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

belexus73 (Anonymous) says…

"Let me ask you this, what scientific data would you need to see that would lead you to believe that threshold you mentioned has been reached?"

I'm not sure it's possible to be proven outright - as I said, it's not as if you can set up a controlled experiment. And the fact remains we know there were climate shifts greater than the one we're in now when the only way fossil fuels got burned is if they got struck by lightning while they were out grazing.

The problem is that I don't think there's any way to prove any efforts made by man to reduce global warming will be effective other than making huge changes and waiting to see if there's an effect. (Even this wouldn't absolutely prove it, given the absence of a control, but it would be encouraging if not convincing.)

There are two problems with this approach. First, while we may be the biggest producer of GHGs on the planet, we're far from the only one, and the efforts of this country may be pointless if the rest of the world (like China and their massive use of coal, or India and oil) doesn't make the same changes. As a matter of fact, we may make huge changes only to find we're not even keeping up with the increased emissions of our neighbors, let alone successfully reducing GHGs globally.

Second, the 'Let's try it and see if it helps' method is a perfectly acceptable approach in some circumstances - usually with the caveat 'We've got nothing to lose by trying.' But the scale of this issue makes that approach unsavory if not untenable. Okay, I know - I'm also not saying we should do nothing, and I'm not saying I have a better solution. But we're talking about quantum lifestyle changes in a nation of 300 million and spending trillions upon trillions of dollars. I'm not sure I could support such an approach solely on the 'Let's try it' reasoning - it's an awfully expensive experiment.

Enjoyed your comments, too. Despite the tone of some of my responses to other posters, believe it or not I prefer discussing things without the rhetoric.

snowWI 5 years, 7 months ago

"I don't know where you have been for the longest time, but you need to take your BS and go back. Your mommy is calling"

It's too bad you can't except the facts regarding southwest Kansas. Much of northwest Kansas has a better future water outlook because of less profligate water mining. Southwest Kansas should just join the Texas panhandle because they have so much in common.

Ogallala_Kid 5 years, 7 months ago

snowwi: "much of northwest Kansas has a better future water outlook"


Obviously better than Ulysses, since it has already run out of water according to you.

You really don't know much about hydrology or water, snow, or Western KS, despite your contention otherwise. And please don't try to impress us with yet another citation to some web-page from the water office, geological survey, or kansas statistical abstract. Citing web pages is hardly an understanding or synthesis of knowledge. Or is quoting a Wes Jackson article, for that matter. His political group is just an extension of Sebelius' office.

snowWI 5 years, 7 months ago

"Obviously better than Ulysses, since it has already run out of water according to you.

You really don't know much about hydrology or water, snow, or Western KS, despite your contention otherwise. And please don't try to impress us with yet another citation to some web-page from the water office, geological survey, or kansas statistical abstract. Citing web pages is hardly an understanding or synthesis of knowledge. Or is quoting a Wes Jackson article, for that matter. His political group is just an extension of Sebelius' office."

I directly quoted the mayor of Ulysses in the article. I take his opinion at face value like you should as well. Also, since you claim to the be the "southwest Kansas water expert" I would like you to refute Ogallala aquifer declines that have been firmly established as concentrated in the southwest counties of the state. Most of northwest Kansas has far more sustainable land managment and conservation practices compared to profligate water mining for irrigation in southwest Kansas. Can more advanced technologies in irrigation help the situation? Yes. However, increases in the average temperature for southwest Kansas is only going to lead to greater evapotranspiration rates as well as pressures on the aquifer.

snowWI 5 years, 7 months ago

"Obviously better than Ulysses, since it has already run out of water according to you."

You are the one with the problem, sir. I refuted that statement more than TWO YEARS AGO. I have noticed that people from western Kansas like to hold grudges. It is time to move on and accept what the mayor of Ulysses has said. Also, I have compiled the population concentration statistics for Kansas for 2008. based on new data released by the Census Bureau that. It indicates that only 14.4% of all Kansans live in entirely rural counties in the state that are not classified as either metropolitan or micropolitan. Based on this information, it is not surprising that many people know so little about rural Kansas considering the vast majority of Kansans are urban dwellers, just like the other forty-nine states.

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