Archive for Friday, May 8, 2009

Kansas Legislature passes bill allowing coal-fired power plant

Sunflower Electric Corporation's coal-fired power plant rises beyond a pile of coal as it churns out electricity in Holcomb, Kan.

Sunflower Electric Corporation's coal-fired power plant rises beyond a pile of coal as it churns out electricity in Holcomb, Kan.

May 8, 2009, 11:51 a.m. Updated May 8, 2009, 2:32 p.m.


— A renewable energy bill won final legislative approval Friday, which would allow Gov. Mark Parkinson and a utility to close a deal that would give southwest Kansas a new coal-fired power plant.

The House approved the bill, 103-18, sending it to Parkinson, who had made its passage a condition for allowing Sunflower Electric Power Corp. to build an 895-megawatt power plant near Holcomb in Finney County.

Parkinson didn't mention the coal plant in a statement following the House vote but focused on the bill's provisions promoting conservation and renewable energy. Among them are a requirement that all utilities generate 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

"Now, we've passed a comprehensive energy package that will create jobs and put Kansas at the forefront of renewable energy efforts," Parkinson said.

The Senate had passed the bill on a 37-2 vote Thursday night.

Parkinson brokered the deal to end the 19-month impasse over the state's refusal in October 2007 to issue an air-quality permit for Sunflower to build two plants at the same site.

Passage of the bill also would end lawsuits by Sunflower challenging the permit denial. The Hays-based utility had argued that the state's top environmental regulator had overstepped his authority.

The bill contains "green" provisions, including incentives for consumers to use wind- and solar-powered generators and use of alternative fuels.

"Kansas stands to gain thousands of jobs from a renewable energy economy, and the work we've accomplished this (legislative) session puts us on solid ground to move forward," Parkinson said.

But environmental groups criticized the agreement between Parkinson and Sunflower CEO Earl Watkins Jr. The Sierra Club's state chapter said it was "packed with escape clauses" for the utility.

"The notion that Kansas needed to build new coal to advance our renewable energy resources is absolutely false," the group said in a written statement. "This sweetheart deal for the coal industry will leave Kansas with weak renewable energy policy, increased pollution, and an unneeded coal plant."

Even Rep. Jason Watkins, a Wichita Republican who supports construction of the coal plant and voted for the bill, didn't see its "green" provisions as strong enough.

"I don't think they mean anything," he said. "I don't think we're being honest with the people of Kansas when we tell them we're for renewable energy."

Parkinson began negotiating with Sunflower hours after he become governor April 28, when Kathleen Sebelius resigned to become U.S. secretary of health and human services.

Sunflower initially planned to build two coal-fired plants in southwest Kansas. But Health and Environment Secretary Rod Bremby denied Sunflower an air-quality permit over environmental concerns.

Legislators passed three bills last year to overturn the denial and a fourth this year; Sebelius vetoed them all.

The single power plant could generate enough electricity to meet the peak demands of 448,000 households. Plans also call for construction of two transmission lines, each capable of carrying 1,000 megawatts into Colorado. Those lines are vital to the future growth of wind power in the state.

Sunflower would sell 78 percent of the new power to two out-of-state electric cooperatives helping to finance the project. They are Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association Inc. of Westminster, Colo., and Golden Spread Electric Cooperative in Amarillo, Texas.

About 1,500 construction jobs would be created during the four years needed to build the plant. Construction could start by the end of 2010.

Sunflower agreed to take steps to offset the plant's potential CO2 emissions that include setting up new wind-powered generators and using biomass fuels such as waste wood.


Jaylee 6 years ago

what an act of desperation!

WHEW!!! i bet the house and senate feel much better now that that darned environment freak is gone though! what was her name?

matsofatso 6 years ago

DISAPPOINTED!!! This isn't just an environmental issue. This is an issue of trying to promote the states number one energy resource: WIND!! Why our decision makers are so focused on dying energy technologies is beyond me. Let's look to the future, folks. It's decisions like this which set us back. Kansas has one of the highest wind potentials in the midwest. It's foolish not to take advantage of that.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

What's the Matter with Kansas?

Again and again, it is demonstrated that the people of Kansas don't matter. What matters is corporations that fund campaigns of republican legislators and their interests are looked out for at the expense of the people and in this case, also at the expense of the environment. Corporate people, now which includes the Chamber of Commerce who ran all the ads in support of coal, don't care about science, about the health of the people, about pollution, destruction of plants and wildlife. All they care about is their gravy train. What would be appropriate would be for their children to have to mine the coal and their homes should be built next to the mines or mountain tops that will be removed and next to the dumping ground for the toxic coal ash and where the mercury comes down and pollutes their water. I plan on boycotting any Chamber of Commerce business, even if it changes my whole lifestyle, which conservatives are so worried about. I will also campaign against Parkinson, a traitor in my eyes.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

If you would like to help get the federal government involved to try to stop this nonsense, here is a phone number to leave a comment:

Comments: 202-456-1111

Ogallala_Kid 6 years ago

@ rhrink. Republican legislators?

Look at the numbers, bubba.

Only 5% voted against in the Senate, less than 20% in the House. There were lots of Democrat votes for doing the right thing here and making a compromise. Despite all the armtwisting from the Sierra Club , the Land Institute, and Gpace.

Sebelius was just being obstinate to achiever her personal political purposes. Parkinson wanted to 'advance the ball' regarding energy in Kansas. He is probably the Rhodes Scholar in this deal, because he gets his green legislation, and I doubt the plant will ever be built.

The endless lectures from people from Lawrence about coal ash, CO2, pollution, and benefits of environmental regulation might be taken a little more seriously if they ever tried to do ANYTHING constructive about their very own stink-pot of a plant. Oh, or if they paid energy costs more comparable to those out west. Oh, or if they put up a few wind turbines in their own corner of the state, instead of fighting them.

Raise your rates, and clean up your own mess, Lawrence. The rest of the state is watching. Start a petition, protest Westar, go off-grid, install a few turbines, don't stop until you get it done. And don't preach to the rest of the state before you do. Check out which parts of the state have the highest Carbon footprint sometime......

larrybill 6 years ago

Whoo!!! Now we can breath easier now that the coal plant is being built and there will be fewer wind generaters using up all that air.

larrybill 6 years ago

That sounds just as dumb as arguing about the coal plants. It is going to happen that one day that we depend on fossil fuels less. I dont think that one of the smallest economic states should be on the front lines of r & d of any new technology. There are alot more important things to spend our hard earned tax dollar on right now.

Thanks LB

Ogallala_Kid 6 years ago

rshrink says: "I plan on boycotting any Chamber of Commerce business, even if it changes my whole lifestyle"

That means you promise to stop posting on this LJW forum, will turn off Westar electric power, and Black Hills natural gas at your house. Oh, and Sunflower Cable, and Sunflower Broadband, and Dillons......

Bill Griffith 6 years ago

Ogallala-Westar will finish cleaning up Lawrence Energy Center next year. There is no need for a petition-which would do no good whatsoever. Also, the the retrofitting has been in a recent docket case that Westar had approved over at the KCC. I haven't checked to see if that is the last rate request based on the upgrades but that process is under way and will be reflected in the rates. Again, the locals have really little power in this regard, it is in the hands of EPA/KDHE or the legal system.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

This deal was pushed by repubs, the chamber of commerce which I would bet is repub dominated, westar, mining companies, all dominated by repubs. They twist arms, use the courts, use their money to ride roughshod over the rest of us. So, if you don't mind being manipulated, then just make smug remarks. But, if you would like to fight back, there is that choice. Make it.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Yah, as long as Keebler is comfortable, then everything is right in the world. Talk about narcissistic. That epitomizes it. Keebler you nailed narcissism. You can be proud.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

ibroke, nice job of trying to opt out of doing anything constructive. Just smart off to people. That will really help.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Ogalla Bubba, this is a bigger issue than Lawrence. I don't know who you are talking about that can just run over to the plant and clean it up. That is being ran by the same people building the one in Holcomb. (The mining company, the utility company and I guess you would have to include the banks who loan money. And if this monstrosity doesn't get built, it would only be due to people taking action to stop it, by demanding that the feds block it. So, they better hear from us or I have no doubt, that just like the cattle feedlots polluting the hell out of western Kansas, the coal plant will soon be in that business as well.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

I won't stop posting Ogalla, at least not right now, because that is useful. As far as the rest of those you named, I am no longer doing business with them. So, yes, I am serious about this. How about you?

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Here is a list of Chamber of Commerce businesses that supported coal:

Adaptive Systems Admiral’s Chef Ala Carte Realty Alexander Screw Products American Awards American Cancer Society Arrow Automotive Ash Development Athlete’s Edge Auto Dynamics BDK Financial Services Best Way Disposal Bob Bowser Bragdon’s Post Road Garage Brent Archer, First Horizon Britt Interactive Buffalo Wild Wings Candlewood Suites Cardinal Fitness Chick-fil-A Chiropractic Healthcare Circle City Pest Control Cohron’s Manufactured Homes Community Hospitals of Indiana Companion Animal Hospital Copies Plus Craig Kelley & Faultless 2006 Member Renewals Crawford Murphy & Tilly Crossroad Realty Dawson Development Co. Donatos Pizzeria Deputy Printing Ed Potts Agency, Inc. ESSN Herald News Express Personnel Services Fifth Third Bank Financial Center First National Bank & Trust First Republic Mortgage Corp. Fort Harrison Reuse Authority Forum Credit Union Flagstar Bank Flanner & Buchanan FOP Lodge 159 Fort Harrison Veterinarians Ft. Harrison YMCA FWB Capital Group Garrison Geist Self Storage GFS Marketplace Gilliatte General Contractors The Goddard School Greentree Real Estate Group Hampton Inn East Harrison Place Harrison Quarters Haynes & Partners Hemophilia of Indiana Hindel Bowling Lanes Hoosier Office Machines Indiana Funeral Care Indiana Newspapers, Inc. Indianapolis Marathon Indianapolis Power & Light Ivy Tech State College JIST Publishing Judge Becky Treacy Kathy Walton, City Clerk KB Homes The Kendall Inn Kinetico Kristi Tiefl, FC Tucker Kyle Walker, Council District 6 Lakeshore Chiropractic Lawrence Lions Club Lawrence Township School Foundation Lawrence Township Trustee Marsh M.D. Rowe Meyer Najem MIBOR Midwest Benefits MSD Lawrence Township MV Farrar Electric, Inc. National City Bank Nixon Financial Services Oaklandon Animal Clinic Patrick O’Brien Agency Penmac Personnel Services PIP Printing Poindexter Excavating Inc. Provision Companies Primetime Liquors Ramada Inn/Bennigan’s Ray’s Trash Service Region’s Bank Rick’s Towing & Maintenance Robert’s Glass & Service Roche Diagnostic Corp. SBC (AT&T) Schneider Corporation Scott Gamble, Edward Jones Sertoma of Lawrence Sign Studio, Inc. Ski Landscape Corporation SRC Technology STAR Financial Bank Swift Air Mechanical Systems Builders Teachers Credit Union RC Teipen The Village Press Topics Tremain Tile Triad Associates Turtle Creek Residential Care VFW Post 281 Voelkel’s Collision Repair Watertown Group Watson’s Westminster Village North WFBQ (Clear Channel) Wurster Construction

As of 2006

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

"The Dirty Facts on "Clean Coal abec accce americas power clean coal climate change coal coal industry environment global warming Top Ten Reasons Clean Coal is Dirty -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- #1: "Clean" Coal Increases Rates of Disease The United States burns more than a billion tons of coal each year – that’s 20 pounds of coal for every person in the country, every day. According to the American Lung Association, 24,000 people a year die prematurely because of pollution from coal-fired power plants. And every year 38,000 heart attacks, 12,000 hospital admissions and an additional 550,000 asthma attacks result from power plant pollution. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- #2: "Clean" Coal Kills Jobs Despite coal industry claims that coal mining creates lots of jobs, the truth is that coal mining employment has been declining for decades, due to increased use of machinery instead of manpower. In West Virginia alone, coal mining employment has plummeted from 126,000 miners in 1948 (who produced 168 million tons of coal), to just 15,000 miners employed in 2005 (who, with the help of machinery, produced 128 million tons of coal). -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- #3: Burning "Clean" Coal Emits Mercury Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of human-generated mercury pollution in the U.S. Mercury emissions from electrical generation continues to rise. Mercury in mothers' blood and breast milk can interfere with the development of babies' brains and neurological systems and can lead to learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, problems with coordination, lowered IQ and even mental retardation." (Rest of quote below)

4: Burning "Clean" Coal is Fuel for Global Warming The U.S. produces about 25 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels. Burning coal contributes 40 percent of U.S. CO2 emissions. Coal is the most carbon intensive fossil fuel. According to the United Nations Environment Program, coal emits around 1.7 times as much carbon per unit of energy when burned as does natural gas and 1.25 times as much as oil. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- #5: "Clean" Coal Kills Miners The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 12,000 coal miners died from black lung disease between 1992 and 2002 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

#6: "Clean" Coal Wastes Huge Quantities of Water Coal mining requires an estimated 70 to 260 million gallons of water every day. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- #7: "Clean" Coal Pollutes Seafood and Freshwater Fish 49 U.S. states have issued fish consumption advisories due to high mercury concentrations in freshwater bodies throughout the country. Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of human-generated mercury pollution in the U.S.

8: "Clean" Coal Destroys Mountains Instead of traditional mining, many coal companies now use mountaintop removal to extract coal. Coal companies are increasingly using this method because it allows for almost complete recovery of coal seams while reducing the number of workers required to a fraction of what conventional methods require. Mountaintop removal involves clear cutting native hardwood forests, using dynamite to blast away as much as 800-1000 feet of mountaintop, and then dumping the waste into nearby valleys, often burying streams. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- #9: "Clean" Coal Kills Freshwater Streams More than 1,200 miles of Appalachian streams have been buried or damaged by mountaintop removal mining. At least 724 miles of streams were completely buried by valley fills from Appalachian mountaintop removal between 1985 and 2001. 400,000 acres of rich and diverse temperate forests have been destroyed during the same time period as a result of mountaintop mining in Appalachia. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- #10: "Clean" Coal Costs Billions in Taxpayer Subsidies The U.S. government continues to aggressively fund coal-related projects despite all that is known about coal’s impacts on health, climate and the economy. The Department of Energy is currently seeking $648 million for “clean coal” projects in its 2009 budget request, “representing the largest budget request for coal RD&D in over 25 years.”

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Now go through the list of businesses that supported the results found in the top 10 list.

Ogallala_Kid 6 years ago

@ rshrink It is readily apparent from your posts that you have absolutely no idea who the Kansas Chamber of Commerce is, or how they are different from the Lawrence or other local chambers of commerce. You really have no clue.

Have you shared your information with Obama or his science director, both of whom support clean coal technology?

Do you get to move out of the dormitory this year?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years ago

rshirink , thanks for the list of sane businesses inKansas.

There is NO viable technology to supply the needed electric capacity in Kansas (or anywhere else) , there will be none for years, and we will continue to need the coal fired plants, new and existing, for many years to come. The air-headed notion that we can put up a few whirlygigs and solar cells hooked to power lines and have needed capacity is false, wrong, and misguided. It does not exist now and will not for many years.

Your simple-minded philosophy is full of holes, mis-information, scientific facts, and like most hysterical dogma, positively stupid. The grid to distribute this power, even if it could be generated, does not exist. Solar cells create Direct Current, the power grid distributes alternating current, 60HZ in the U.S. There is a lot of misinformation, knowledge and plain truth about "alternative energy" which will have to be eventually developed, but environmental nuts do not ever want to hear this, they are on a green high and reality does not deter them.

Matt Bowers 6 years ago

rshrink is right. This is an outcry that some people still to this day have the hardest time believing that this is all connected. You can't throw your waste into the water or air and not expect it to have some sort of effect upon you. If you go into a smoked filled establishment, is that good for your body? If you can make sense out of that, then you can make sense out of the fact that filling the ozone with CO2 is about the same. Only we are going to heat up the earth (faster than its natural pace), pollute the environment we need to survive, kill off delicate species, all so a small group of people can get rich. How do any arguments against renewable energy even get started? Why is our state moving backward? I hate to say it, but it says a lot about the values of our elected officials. Do they read? This is bad news and the fact that the power company had a deal hours into Parkinson's term speaks volumes.

shotgun 6 years ago

What do you expect from a Republican (turn coat fake Democrat) ? Do these idiots in the state legislature wonder why Colorado rejected these power plants in their state? They are LOL saying, let those stupid hillbillies in Kansas provide our power and breathe the soot!

matsofatso 6 years ago

The ones living in a vacuum of misinformatin are not us frwent, and if you think we don't know about the lack of a energy grid system to sustain the wind, then you are mistaken there. Kansas is poised to be the buckle on the new US nationwide electricity grid. This will happen. As for the technology not existing yet, where are you getting that information? Look at Spain, on a good day they supply over 40% of their nationwide energy needs with wind.. alls it takes is the support of the government, which this country has not had in a long time. Coal or Wind it's investors that build them. Government is in the position to broker the deals and guide us in the right direction. On this issue they are guided by backdoor deals and by their regressive politics. Kansas would be a huge beneficiary of wind power. I'm talking about LANDOWNERS!! The little guy, but god forbid they ever get a break. Misinformation is provided by those who own the status quo. It is windy enough here to support this, it's a fact. We need to make investments in the future, not to continue to line the pockets of those keeping us in the past. Here are a couple of facts for you: Wind comes from the sun. It's ALWAYS windy within 150 miles of any point in kansas. Enough sunlight hits the earths surface in 30 seconds to power the planet for the entire day. Yes, this is going to take investments, but if you are not thinking about the future, please get out of the way.

jth0416 6 years ago

Rationing would be a disaster. That would just create Mexican gasoline cartels to go with the drug ones we already have. A tiered pricing system--sorta like our current income tax works--would be a better idea, imho. It would allow a person to use more energy if they want, but pay more as the usage increases.

In truth, building a new coal plant is a big step in the right direction. It will allow older plants--which pollute waaayyy more--to be retired. If you don't build a new plant, the old ones will just keep being patched up.

I don't know about everyone else, but I'm much happier with the emissions from today's cars; even though they still burn gasoline. We'll have reliable electric cars some day, but we're much better off than if we were all still driving Studebakers.

Energy sources have to evolve as well. We can't expect coal to stop and renewables to take over at the drop of a hat. That's like believing solely in intelligent design, yo.

Ken Lassman 6 years ago

Folks who are discussing the merits of clean coal technology and the benefits of a new, cleaner coal plant being proposed at Holcomb don't get it. A word of advice: follow the money.

Check to see how the current Sunflower Electric investors are doing on the return on their investments they've made so far at their existing power plant and I think you'll see why they are so eager to become coal-fired mercenaries for Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

CO2? Mercury pollution? Water consumption? We're talking money here, not ecology. These folks aren't thinking to the future, they're thinking how to keep from losing their shirts and how to keep the gravy train rolling.

Ogallala_Kid 6 years ago

yea, rshrink.. what a great membership list of those involved in Kansas Commerce......

Hemophilia of Indiana Hoosier Office Machines Indiana Funeral Care Indiana Newspapers, Inc. Indianapolis Marathon Indianapolis Power & Light Fort Harrison Reuse Authority Fort Harrison Veterinarians Ft. Harrison YMCA

....notice anything unusual with your list?

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

FR went wrong with his thinking, apparently not doing any research whatsoever and instead choosing to adopt the republican line which serves republicans. He hasn't even looked into the current costs of burning coal, which when one factors in all of the additional costs from pollution and healthcare and waste management, will exceed that which is affordable. How can you remain so ignorant went?

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Ogalla, Kansas Chamber of Commerce sponsored the coal plant. Is Lawrence in Kansas? Last I checked into it, it was. If these groups who belong to C of C do not agree with that sponsorship, then they need to step forward and denounce the sponsorship and drop out of C of C. Thats my thinking and frankly if you want to support this group, thats your business. You are supporting coal plants to then.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

jth number - we cannot afford to wait until someone who is in it for the money to decide to do the right thing. Unfortunately, there are selfish people in this world who will totally look out for their own good, no matter what harm it brings to the planet. It will never be any easier to make a change than now and now will have a chance of helping whereas later greatly diminishes any chance of saving life as we now know it. So, your argument is not just weak, it is severely misguided.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

p> -- Americans' hunger for cheap electricity certainly isn't abating. However, their love affair with coal-burning power plants, which currently produce half of the nation's electricity, might be ending. Coal, once a predictable investment, is now viewed as a risk asserts a new report from the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR).

Prepared for the ICCR by Synapse Energy Economics, "Don't Get Burned: The Risks of Investing in New Coal-Fired Generating Facilities," by lead author David Schlissel, outlines why coal-burning electrical plants are risky long-term investments, from anticipated federal and state regulations of greenhouses gases to the unknown costs of carbon capture and storage, to the rising costs of constructing new coal-burning power plants.

Over 130 coal-burning power plants have been proposed over the next 10 to 20 years. However, the report pulls no punches: "The costs of constructing and operating these plants are highly uncertain due to multiple factors in the industry, and the owners will face significant financial, economic and environmental risks. In particular, investments in these plants will be at risk if the utilities and/or companies are unable to recover all of the costs from customers and earn forecast profits."

Schlissel draws parallels between the failure of the nuclear power industry in the 1970s and today's uncertainties around constructing new coal power plants. When the costs of building new nuclear power plants became difficult to predict, many nuclear plants were cancelled and investors were left out in the cold.

The US is competing with the global construction market when building new coal-burning power plants, with costs of materials like steel and concrete growing extremely fast the report adds. Leslie Lowe, Energy and Environment Program Director for ICCR, told that China alone is building the equivalence of the UK's power infrastructure every year.

Alongside the uncertainties of construction costs, changes in federal and state regulations make the building of new coal burning plants a risky bet, the report puts forth. Concerns regarding the dangers of climate change are causing national and state regulatory commissions to reject plans for new coal-fired power plants. Policies will most certainly be written regarding greenhouse gases reductions by the US Congress and state governments in the near future. Coal, which is the most carbon intensive fuel, will face the highest scrutiny the report asserts.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Proposed national carbon cap-and-trade programs likewise create unknowns for the coal-burning power plant industry. The report concludes: "Paying for CO2 emission allowances is likely to have a very significant impact on the variable costs of operating new coal-fired power plants."

Proponents of building new coal-burning power plants point to the possibility of capturing and sequestering (CCS) CO2 emissions from new plants. Yet questions around CCS abound. According to the report: "Although many are confident that CO2 can be captured in the pre-combustion CCS technologies used in IGCC [Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle] facilities, there currently is no commercially viable technology for carbon capture and sequestration from utility scale pulverized coal plants."

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

What risks does coal-industry growth pose for American taxpayers? There are two, maybe three kinds of risk here. One is that there will be a lot of money lost. Another is that there will be significant harm to the climate because of carbon emissions. A third is that other environmental harms will result from increased coal combustion. That includes mercury, asthma, tuberculosis, and other problems associated with lung diseases. Most high carbon coals have a lot of mercury within them, so when it’s burned, the mercury is released in the atmosphere. In fact, the major source of mercury in the air is the combustion of coal for fossil-fired plants.

Is carbon regulation the main reason the report calls coal a risky investment from here on out? Carbon regulation is the biggest and most obvious factor, but not the only one. The rising costs of plant construction and coal transportation are also a major factor: New cost estimates are far higher than the old cost estimates. Coal-fired power plants were expected to cost approximately $1 billion apiece to build, but the big ones are costing closer to $3 billion apiece. Early cost estimates looked at what would happen if each plant was built by itself, but if we build dozens at a time, the competition for engineers and steel and concrete becomes very acute. So there’s major international competition going on.

In terms of fuel price, a lot of these plants are being built because people estimated that the price of coal would be relatively low for years to come, but coal prices today are about twice what they were two years ago. And US coal is now being sold overseas—put on ships and taken to markets that really need it and are willing to bid a higher price than we’ve been used to seeing. That’s a problem especially because when analysts predict that these plants are cost-effective, they’re assuming 30-50 years to pay off the bonds raised to construct them. In other words, the plants only make sense if you think that the fuel will be accessible for the next 40-50 years.

Finally, the railroads needed to get coal from mines to power plants are already overloaded—they’re operating at over 90 percent capacity. We don’t have the rail system in place to carry all the coal that would be needed to build 60 or 80 new power plants, and building those railways is going to be very expensive.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years ago

rshrink, provide me with documentation about your comment that the railroads are "already overloaded" As a long time rail fan and enthusiast, I can tell you that your statement is totally false. Much like the rest of your tirades.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

You fwent wrong again. These are not tirades, but the results of group studies. Have you ever watched the railroad cars bringing coal to Lawrence? The coal trains go by multiple times a day with over a hundred cars in tow and that is for one plant. I know you won't try, but even if you did, you could never begin to imagine how much damage to the earth it takes to produce so much coal. If you are not a manager in the coal industry or profiting from its use in some way, then there is no reason for you to be arguing for such a dismal product. You are entitled to your opinion, but it is far removed from experts who have studied this issue. Further, apparently you didn't even think to use the link I provided or you could have had your own answer.

hornhunter 6 years ago

rshrink (Anonymous) says…

You fwent wrong again. These are not tirades, but the results of group studies. Have you ever watched the railroad cars bringing coal to Lawrence? The coal trains go by multiple times a day with over a hundred cars in tow and that is for one plant.

I have no idea where you get your info, but if the coal plant outside Lawrence gets more then a couple trains a week, then they have more of a problem you don't know about.
So get the facts before you post. DA

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

There is much less of the cleaner coal and the cleaner coal is getting much more difficult to mine. With mountain top removal, which is disastrous to the environment (check out Tennessee disaster), there is no real attempt to obtain clean coal. Below describes added costs of usage and transportation which result from using impure coal.

"There is a difference between preventible and non-preventible non-combustible in coal. The non-preventible ash is so thoroughly incorporated with the structure of the coal that it cannot be separated mechanically. This minimum ash content differs in each mine."

"By preventible ash is meant the slate and other impurities which can be separated by careful, preparation. This minimum ash varies from as low as 2$ in some cases to as high as 33$ in other cases. The average for the country is probably about 9$ or 10$. The percentage of ash in the coal from various States, together with the output for the year 1915 is given in Table I. Over half the coal mined shows an ash analysis of <$ or better. The percentage for the country if averaged in proportion to each State* s production is about 9.9$. We may, there- fore, consider 10$ as a fair average for clean coal for the entire country.

  1. Increase in Coal Consumption for a Given Power. The reduction in boiler efficiency greatly increases the amount of coal that must be pur- chased to produce a given amount of work. This is a direct financial loss, since the consumer is not only paying for unnecessary ash, but is losing good fuel which is carried off through the boiler grates with the excessive ash. See Chart No. 2.

3 Influence of High Ash on Boiler Capacity. The presence of excess ash seriously reduces the boiler capacity, because sufficient coal can- not be burned on the grates to do the necessary work. This is possibly the effect which is felt most seriously by the consumer, because he finds it im- possible to get sufficient steam from his boilers to do the work demanded of them and is compelled either to reduce his output, or purchase additional boiler capacity. See Chart Ho. 3.

  1. Increase in Transportation Equipment due to High Ash. About 85$ of all the coal mined in this country is carried by the railroads, hence un- necessary ash means an unnecessary task given to the railroads. Each per cent of avoidable ash adds to the work of the railroads about 3*000,000 tons of unnecessary freight per annum. Some shipments of coal contain eighteen or twenty per cent, non-combustible. Such coal requires 65$ niore cars and lo- comotives than a reasonably clean coal of say 10$ ash. See Chart No. 4. "


Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Hornhunter, If you want to watch for yourself, go to a railroad crossing and see how many cars go by in a days time. Now, maybe there are other users in this area that I don't know about, but regardless you need to pay attention to how much coal is transported period and it is a lot. And as I have already relayed in previous posts, many groups are worried about the burden there would be, especially if numerous other plants are built. Lastly, this is only one concern and it is far less important than the pollution and warming issues. I have gotten my facts, now you get yours. Your boastfulness is not convincing.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

And while the archival information is yes, old, it nevertheless addresses an issue which has only increased as the country has used up a lot of the cleaner coal already.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Okay Mr. hornhunter, from Wikipedia:

Coal is delivered by highway truck, rail, barge or collier ship. Some plants are even built near coal mines and coal is delivered by conveyors. A large coal train called a "unit train" may be two kilometers (over a mile) long, containing 100 cars with 100 tons of coal in each one, for a total load of 10,000 tons. A large plant under full load requires at least one coal delivery this size every day. Plants may get as many as three to five trains a day, especially in "peak season", during the winter months when power consumption is high. A large thermal power plant such as the one in Nanticoke, Ontario stores several million tons of coal for winter use when the lakes are frozen.


hornhunter 6 years ago

Okay Mr. Richard Shrink, Your little cut and paste from Wikipedia does not apply to YOUR Lawrence plant so don't use it to try to prove your point.

You fwent wrong again. These are not tirades, but the results of group studies. Have you ever watched the railroad cars bringing coal to Lawrence? The coal trains go by multiple times a day with over a hundred cars in tow and that is for ONE PLANT.

What is your point with the ash? Dick

snowWI 6 years ago

Fly ash is extrordinarily toxic and dangerous. For all who are interested look at the environmental disaster in TN. The real externalized costs of burning coal don't factor in nasty situations like this.

Ogallala_Kid 6 years ago

rshrink (Anonymous) says… "Kansas Chamber of Commerce sponsored the coal plant. Is Lawrence in Kansas? Last I checked into it, it was."

@rshink..... you are a total idiot. Please explain why you think "Hemophilia of Indiana" has anything to do with "Kansas Chamber of Commerce" or "Lawrence Chamber of Commerce" You can't even Google correctly.

@snowwi..... this kid knows so much... he says the water wells in Ulysses Kansas have run dry. And ask him if Kansas is the Midwest.

actually, they are likely the same person. They both like cutting and pasting long passages from dorky sources like wikipedia and Kansas statistical abstract.

Dormitory living is a great thing kids, isn't it? What's for lunch today? Pizza?

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Ogalla and Hornyhunter like to make points about things that are not points. They do not even deserve responses. The list of organizations that belong to Lawrence C of C, came directly from the Lawrence C of C. So, I guess Ogalla is the one who can't google, but he can gag gle.

And Horny, wikipedia points out what is normal. I have already said, I have watched coal trains go by numerous times, usually well over a hundred cars, heading for Lawrence. You go count and then get back to us, uh, if you can count. I shouldn't take that for granted given your predisposition to argue for the sake of arguing rather than trying to understand. But that's okay. You live in America, so you are free to be a jerk.

notajayhawk 6 years ago

rshrink (Anonymous) says…

"You live in America, so you are free to be a jerk."

I think you've demonstrated that concept more than sufficiently.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Answers some questions about coal ash;

"Over the past few decades, however, a series of studies has called these stereotypes into question. Among the surprising conclusions: the waste produced by coal plants is actually more radioactive than that generated by their nuclear counterparts. In fact, the fly ash emitted by a power plant—a by-product from burning coal for electricity—carries into the surrounding environment 100 times more radiation than a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy. * [See Editor's Note at end of page 2]

At issue is coal's content of uranium and thorium, both radioactive elements. They occur in such trace amounts in natural, or "whole," coal that they aren't a problem. But when coal is burned into fly ash, uranium and thorium are concentrated at up to 10 times their original levels.

Fly ash uranium sometimes leaches into the soil and water surrounding a coal plant, affecting cropland and, in turn, food. People living within a "stack shadow"—the area within a half- to one-mile (0.8- to 1.6-kilometer) radius of a coal plant's smokestacks—might then ingest small amounts of radiation. Fly ash is also disposed of in landfills and abandoned mines and quarries, posing a potential risk to people living around those areas."

Yes, Scientific America, that commie rag.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Here is an actual occurrence of ash gone amuck:

"On December 22 a billion gallons of poisonous sludge—largely coal ash, a byproduct of coal burning—broke through an earthen dike at the Kingston Fossil Plant. The torrent half-buried area homes and elevated long-running health concerns over heavy metals in the ash.

Those worries, experts say, are not limited to human health. In addition to the animals killed by the initial spill, wildlife may be threatened for years by the trace amounts of arsenic, cadmium, mercury, thallium, and other toxins in the coal ash.

(Related: "Heavy Metal-Eating 'Superworms' Unearthed in U.K." [October 7, 2008].)

"We're concerned about tremendous human health threats but also serious biological threats to animal species," said Stephen Smith, veterinarian and director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

"Already mussels, snails, and aquatic species are in grave danger, but no one seems to be talking about it."

Other local animals that could be affected include river otters, mink, muskrat, ospreys, and black-crowned night herons, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. No endangered species are believed to inhabit the spill region."

Yes, National Geographic, another yellow journalistic outfit

Ogallala_Kid 6 years ago

"Ogalla and Hornyhunter like to make points about things that are not points. They do not even deserve responses. The list of organizations that belong to Lawrence C of C, came directly from the Lawrence C of C. So, I guess Ogalla is the one who can't google, but he can gag gle.

@ rshrink:. You are cut-n-pasting from Lawrence INDIANA chamber of commerce.

I wonder how many times the TA's (giving you the benefit of a doubt of even being admitted to college) have to correct your work? You know, copying your term papers wholesale from Newsweek and Time is plagiarism. And they don't like Wikipedia as a footnote either.

Ogallala_Kid 6 years ago

rshrink asks: "Kansas Chamber of Commerce sponsored the coal plant. Is Lawrence in Kansas?" _____--

Not for you evidently.

You are looking at the Lawrence iNDIANA Chamber of Commerce, you idiot.

Ogallala_Kid 6 years ago

you now quote National Geographic, rshrink?

Does the library let you see the editions with those naked ladies?

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Ogalla, Just because I made a mistake on that one does not nullify the rest of what I said and you very well know that. You are attempting to use this mistake to justify your own irrational opinions. Likely you know as much about the downsides of coal as anyone and yet you come here and try to talk it up. What does that say about your character. I am owning up to this mistake you spent time to find out about. Now spend time to find out I am right about the rest of it. I challenge you to use logic, not emotion. Will you take the challenge or will you collapse into attempts at character assassination? We shall see. And that darn Lawrence C of C won't list its members. Now, we know why. A bunch of chickens that won't own up to their misguided pursuits. I challenge LJ World to let the public know that C of C pushed for coal. They ran ads on radio and TV.

Ogallala_Kid 6 years ago

No rshrink, I am simply demonstrating that even when you are presented with the obvious mistakes in your information, you -repeatedly continue to deny it, -continue to post other lies, and -act in general like a third grader.

It goes to credibility. You have none.

And you continue to confuse the Lawrence Chamber with the Kansas Chamber in your last post, so you continue to lie, lie, lie.

By the way, if you want to see members of either organization, it is not a state secret. Each publish directories of their membership and they can be found many places including their offices. They have no obligation to share any of this with you online though, even though they might choose to do so.

And I call you out again on your lies above that you do not use any of these: Westar, Blackhills Energy, SBC, Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, T-mobile, Sunflower Broadband, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Dillons, Hy-Vee, as well as the LJW and its forums..... all members of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Ogalla, Even after I admitted it, you still say I don't admit it. That is called denial. Now you add Hyvee to your list. Yes, I do use Hyvee. But not the rest. Are you saying that Lawrence is not a part of the Kansas C of C? Do they not support Ks C of C? Individuals in Lawrence C of C have been in favor of the coal plant being built and have wrote about it. That confuses the issue. This is not about lying and like I said, you are out to character assassinate, not discuss issues. I predicted this and it happened. Do you work for Sunflower? What is your selfish interest in coal?

You did not respond to the National Geographic or Scientific America, even when links were provided. And screw the term paper notion. This is not a format for writing term papers and again you use distraction and obfuscation because you can't really argue with facts and reality.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

"On the 27 March, 2008, Professor James Hansen, NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Science chief climate scientist and arguably one of the world’s most eminent authorities on climate change, sent a letter to Kevin Rudd" :

"Global climate is near critical tipping points that could lead to loss of all summer sea ice in the Arctic with detrimental effects on wildlife, initiation of ice sheet disintegration in West Antarctica and Greenland with progressive, unstoppable global sea level rise, shifting of climatic zones with extermination of many animal and plant species, reduction of freshwater supplies for hundreds of millions of people, and a more intense hydrologic cycle with stronger droughts and forest fires, but also heavier rains and floods, and stronger storms driven by latent heat, including tropical storms, tornados and thunderstorms.

Yet there are plans for continuing mining of coal, export of coal, and construction of new coal-fired power plants around the world, including in Australia, plants that would have a lifetime of half a century or more. Your leadership in halting these plans could seed a transition that is needed to solve the global warming problem.

If Australia halted construction of coal-fired power plants that do not capture and sequester the CO2, it could be a tipping point for the world. There is still time to find that tipping point, but just barely. I hope that you will give these considerations your attention in setting your national policies. You have the potential to influence the future of the planet."

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

"Wednesday, July 09, 2008 Burning coal is burning oil Guest blogger Iain McClatchie here. Kirk asked me to cross-post my next energy related posting from Ambivalent Engineer.

I found some numbers for the oil cost of burning coal. As you know, coal moves primarily by train, and those trains are pulled by diesel-powered locomotives, and marginal diesel is of course imported. Coal is generally regarded as a domestic fuel, but it takes a fair bit of diesel to pull all that coal around. So the question is, are you paying mostly for coal, or mostly for diesel?

Here's the first big clue: Freight trains in the United States burn 1 gallon of diesel to move a ton of frieght 436 miles.

Average distance coal travels in US: 628 miles from mine mouth to powerplant. At $4.03/gallon, that's $5.80 for the diesel to move a ton of coal from the mine mouth to the powerplant, on average. Wyoming coal costs $9 at the mine mouth. So, electric producers pay almost as much for the diesel to move this coal as for the coal itself. Since marginal petroleum is imported, it's fair to say that coal is not entirely a domestic fuel.

The average powerplant cost for coal in the U.S. in 2006 was $34.26/ton. That's because coal mined outside of the Powder River basin in Wyoming costs a lot more to dig out -- the average mine-mouth price across the U.S. in 2006 was $25.16/ton. The difference is $9.10/ton, which is the cost of transport. The cost of diesel was lower in 2006, but it looks like around half the transport cost is the diesel.

If the coal is 22 MJ/kg, and the plant is 35% efficient, then for each kWh at the powerplant you spend on average 1.8 cents for the coal. Just the fuel cost of the coal plant is more than the total operating cost of the Palo Verde nuclear powerplant, per kWh. This result is entirely independent of subsidies or clean coal requirements. The black stuff is apparently just really expensive.

A while back, I snarkily suggested that mine mouth coal powerplants were a way to keep the pollution away from rich people. Looks like I was wrong:

Cont. below

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago


Transporting a kWh of electricity 1000 miles increases the cost by 19%. Transporting the coal necessary to make that electricity 1000 miles costs $14.49/ton, assuming cost is linear with distance. That's a 58% increase in the cost of the fuel. Assuming the fuel cost is 70% of the cost of producing electricity, that's a 40% increase in the cost of the electricity. 4000 miles (across the continent) by electricity: increase cost by 107%. 4000 miles by coal train: 160% increase.

What about the extra carbon? Transporting 1000 miles as electricity means you must make an extra 8.7% more electricity which gets lost in the wires, which produces 8.7% more CO2. Transporting 1000 miles by coal train burns 6.3 kg of carbon in the diesel to deliver perhaps 800 kg of carbon, which increases the total carbon released by 0.8%. Clearly the diesel locomotive is the lower carbon, if much more expensive, alternative.

So what does all this mean? If I were crafting a national economic policy intended to stabilize the U.S. economy against changes in the price of oil, I would look into making those frieght trains electric. And, of course, I would build a bunch of standardized, mature nuclear powerplants.

P.S. Average distance coal travels in China: 230 miles. They're burning a lot less diesel to take advantage of their domestic coal."

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Now considering the last two posts, and considering that most, if not all of the energy to be produced in Holcomb is going back to Colorado and other places south and west, this is not even an efficient way of making and distributing electricity. Since it is going to be mined in Colorado, then a plant should be built there. Western Kansas does not need to be considered the garbage dump for the nation. They already have the feedlots, which are a terrible pollution pit.

lctchr1 6 years ago

Did anyone on this thread see 60 Minutes a few weeks back? The head of Duke Energy admitted that we needed to find alternatives to coal. This (coal energy) is his livelihood! It was obvious that he was worried about his grandchildrens' future. C'mon! C'mon! MatsoFatso is right on!

deskboy04 6 years ago

That coal plant will come in handy when I need to use the air conditioner this summer.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Come on desk boy. None of that energy is coming here and you should know that. Also, you really don't realize the price you are paying for coal energy. And joking about it won't lower the price.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

"Solid waste - (from coal)

Waste created by a typical 500-megawatt coal plant includes more than 125,000 tons of ash and 193,000 tons of sludge from the smokestack scrubber each year. Nationally, more than 75% of this waste is disposed of in unlined, unmonitored onsite landfills and surface impoundments.

Toxic substances in the waste -- including arsenic, mercury, chromium, and cadmium -- can contaminate drinking water supplies and damage vital human organs and the nervous system. One study found that one out of every 100 children who drink groundwater contaminated with arsenic from coal power plant wastes were at risk of developing cancer. Ecosystems too have been damaged -- sometimes severely or permanently -- by the disposal of coal plant waste."

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

"Cooling water discharge - (from using coal)

Once the 2.2 billion gallons of water have cycled through the coal-fired power plant, they are released back into the lake, river, or ocean. This water is hotter (by up to 20-25° F) than the water that receives it. This "thermal pollution" can decrease fertility and increase heart rates in fish. Typically, power plants also add chlorine or other toxic chemicals to their cooling water to decrease algae growth. These chemicals are also discharged back into the environment.

Waste heat

Much of the heat produced from burning coal is wasted. A typical coal power plant uses only 33-35% of the coal's heat to produce electricity. The majority of the heat is released into the atmosphere or absorbed by the cooling water."

notajayhawk 6 years ago

lctchr1 (Anonymous) says…

"This (coal energy) is his livelihood! It was obvious that he was worried about his grandchildrens' future."

More likely he's worried about being legislated out of business by a bunch of fanatics, and he wants his grandchildren to be able to eat.

hornhunter 6 years ago

shrink, Why don't you compare apples to apples, your links are not the same as Holcomb, they have a ZERO discharge permit. They reuse their water and make up to it. Get your sources with this specific topic straight.

Do you think they put those Toxic substances in the waste after they burn the coal just to get rid of them? I think they were in the coal from the get go. DA

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

How does one get a zero discharge? There is always waste from coal and as time goes by, there will be more of it. That has already happened. You said, "I think they were in the coal from the get go." Of course. Thats the point. There is waste that won't burn and the poisons that remain have to go somewhere. Where will they go horny? Apparently, you did not read the link I provided. Some plants discharge heat into water and some into the air. Where will the heat be discharged? Please read all of the material before answering. Otherwise, your response will not make sense again.


Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Coal mining

"About 60% of U.S. coal is stripped from the earth in surface mines; the rest comes from underground mines. Surface coal mining may dramatically alter the landscape. Coal companies throughout Appalachia often remove entire mountain tops to expose the coal below. The wastes are generally dumped in valleys and streams.

In West Virginia, more than 300,000 acres of hardwood forests (half the size of Rhode Island) and 1,000 miles of streams have been destroyed by this practice.

Underground mining is one of the most hazardous of occupations, killing and injuring many in accidents, and causing chronic health problems."

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

not a j h, the fanatics are the ones who want to continue to destroy the earth, dig by dig, and burn by burn, just for the money. That is truly fanatical. DA

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

"A typical (500 megawatt) coal plant burns 1.4 million tons of coal each year. There are about 600 U.S. coal plants.

Coal pollutes when it is mined, transported to the power plant, stored, and burned. Click on the pictures above left to see more about the kinds of environmental damage caused by coal."

The coal plant planned will be about two times the size of the average plant.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

What are the down sides to using coal as a source of energy?

"There are many problems with the usage of coal. For starters, obtaining coal can produce environmental problems. The surface mining method not only destroys the appearance, but also destroys the ecosystem in that area. Miners can get the black lung disease even though there is equipment designed to protect them. Along with that, poisonous chemicals can also pollute bodies of water close by, especially underground water. Furthermore, the consumption of coal produces coal ash and additional amounts of carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming and smog. The impurities produced by coal combustion like sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide also cause acid rain.3 That is why many people around the world are trying to find alternatives to using coal as a source of energy."

Cite in next post

notajayhawk 6 years ago

rshrink (Anonymous) says…

"not a j h, the fanatics are the ones who want to continue to destroy the earth, dig by dig, and burn by burn, just for the money. That is truly fanatical. DA"

Well, actually, it's more so we can have things like electric lights, heat, and computers (like the one you're typing on) - you know, not live in caves like the fanatics would rather we were doing.

And I dunno', shrunk - somehow it strikes me as amusing that someone who posts 39 times to the same thread, most of them lengthy cut-and-paste diatribes that nobody's reading anyway, would have the gall to call anyone else a 'fanatic.' DS

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

I think someone who goes to the trouble to count the posts instead of reading them doesn't have much to say about the subject. You have your own kind of compulsions.


Bob Hechlor 6 years ago


Sorry to hear that you have the blahs.


hornhunter 6 years ago

shrink, You wouldn't be an architect that designed a GAP store in Aspen and keep posting the same old dribble, are you ????


Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Horn, You wouldn't be that guy that thinks that science is a mystical practice where people sit around and conjer up visions of the deceased would you??????


Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

notajayhawk wrote: Well, actually, it's more so we can have things like electric lights, heat, and computers (like the one you're typing on) - you know, not live in caves like the fanatics would rather we were doing.

These things are quite achievable if you have a sense of self sufficiency and imagination and if you don't, then learn from those who do. They actually have computers nowadays that are solar powered. Check it out. You rely on the energy industry like a junky on heroine. There are better ways to go in life. When we quit relying on the energy drug dealers, we will learn how to accomplish everthing in other ways. Many already have.

Boston_Corbett 6 years ago

How is your computer powered rshrink. Westar I bet.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Boston. Wrong, and you are falling victim to hyperfocusing on the wrong point of course. I might say that I, alone, cannot run out and change how the world is powered. I have done a lot of what I personally can do. I can't stop the coal plants by myself, and if you thought for more than a half-second, you would realize that. This is something for the masses to get behind and push for. Stop pollution and possible destruction of species which may eventually destroy mankind or be content to use your computers and other appliances at the expense of health and eventually life as we know it. We are lucky enough to have other ways. Instead of wasting your time challenging me, lets start demanding healthy change.

Boston_Corbett 6 years ago

How is your computer powered rshrink?

I see Ogallala has asked you the same question, before.

Why do you type a long response to avoid a short, simple, direct question?

Boston_Corbett 6 years ago

rshrink says: “I plan on boycotting any Chamber of Commerce business, even if it changes my whole lifestyle”

No you haven't. No you won't. And the rest of your posts are pure hogwash too.

I'm done with this 9-year old.

Boston_Corbett 6 years ago

rshrink says: “I plan on boycotting any Chamber of Commerce business, even if it changes my whole lifestyle”

No you haven't. No you won't. And the rest of your posts are pure hogwash too.

I'm done with this 9-year old.

Looks like jr. needs one of those puzzle-maps of the US states too.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Look at Boston, accusing me of being just older than him by a few years.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Trouble with Boston and Ogalla is that they are only interested in winning arguments and making accusations. I am interested in larger issues like health of humans and the planet. I guess those issues are really beyond their comprehension.

snowWI 6 years ago

"@snowwi….. this kid knows so much… he says the water wells in Ulysses Kansas have run dry. And ask him if Kansas is the Midwest."

You just won't admit that southwest Kansas has an unsustainable profligate irrigation addiction compared to northwest Kansas. You also REFUSE to acknowledge what the mayor of Ulysses has said about the water situation in the area. Like I said before, southwest Kansas and the Texas panhandle have much in common with each other as well as historically. I think one issue is the huge geographic divide in the large state of Kansas. Western Kansas is in the High Plains region, and definitely not the Midwest core. The Midwest core region is comprised of much of Iowa, southern Minnesota, central and northern Illinois, eastern Nebraska, northern Missouri, southern Wisconsin, eastern Kansas, and northern and central Indiana. Western Kansas has absolutely nothing in common with the Great Lakes region of the Midwest nor the Upper Midwest. Southwest Kansas can "immitate" Midwest core agricultural crops, but they require profligate irrigation water to be grown. The Midwest core irrrigates MUCH MUCH less because the average rainfall is fairly consistent and reliable.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Top 5 "Clean Coal" Myths clean coal coal coal industry coal myths top 5 clean coal myths Myth #1: "America has more than 200 years of available coal reserves." The United States is the ‘Saudi Arabia’ of coal. As author Jeff Goodell reveals in his book “Big Coal,” the claim that the U.S. has 200 or 250 years of coal left is “based on old studies that haven't been updated since the '70s. Those studies themselves were based on studies from the '20s and '30s.”

Goodell points out that “we've been mining coal in this country for 150 years -- all the simple, high-quality, easy-to-get stuff is gone. What's left is buried beneath towns and national parks, or places that are difficult, expensive and dangerous to mine.”

The situation is likely far worse than the rosy picture the coal industry paints claiming centuries of abundant supply. Richard Heinberg, author of “Peak Everything,” cites an Energy Watch Group report to support his claim that U.S. coal production has already peaked:

-->"This forecast for a near-term peak in U.S. coal extraction flies in the face of frequently repeated statements that the nation has 200 years’ worth of coal reserves at current levels of consumption."

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

MYTH #2: We can capture carbon emissions from coal and bury them underground Burying the carbon produced from the burning of coal, so called Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS), isn't as simple as the coal industry would have us think. New Scientist magazine recently provided a good overview of CCS technology. It quotes a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study called The Future of Coal, which concludes that, "the first commercial CCS plant won't be on stream until 2030 at the earliest."

Oil-giant Shell "doesn't foresee CCS being in widespread use until 2050."

In May, 2008 Greenpeace International released a comprehensive, in-depth report called "False Hope: Why Carbon capture and storage won't save the climate," detailing the fallacies of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).

"Carbon capture and storage is a scam. It is the ultimate coal industry pipe dream,” said the report’s author, Emily Rochon, climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace International. “Governments and businesses need to reduce their emissions—not search for excuses to keep burning coal.”

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

MYTH #3: Since 1970, emissions from coal power plants are down 35 percent, the air is cleaner and yet coal use tripled during that period. --> The coal industry is correct that emissions from coal plants are down 35 percent since 1970.

But the claim that the air is cleaner is only true from a 1970s perspective - for those pollutants which were regulated under the Clean Air Act and related statutes – chiefly sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, the two main components of smog. But since coal use has more than tripled since 1970, total pollution from coal plants has increased.

Mercury emissions from coal plants continue to climb, and since 1990, carbon dioxide emissions – the prime driver of global warming - rose 27 percent from coal plants alone.--> According to the American Lung Association (ALA), 24,000 people a year still die prematurely from pollution emitted at coal-fired power plants, in addition to a litany of other health effects that injure and impede hundreds of thousands of Americans. The ALA found that power plant pollution is responsible for 38,000 heart attacks, 12,000 hospital admissions and an additional 550,000 asthma attacks every year.

snowWI 6 years ago

" I am interested in larger issues like health of humans and the planet. I guess those issues are really beyond their comprehension."

I completely agree with you. Wind energy is cost compatible with coal coal. The externalized costs of burning coal are never properly calculated into the actual costs for building and operating the plant over its lifespan. Some externalized factors include: mercury pollution of our bodies of water and fly ash waste that is generated from the burning of coal.

notajayhawk 6 years ago

rshrink (Anonymous) says…

"These things are quite achievable if you have a sense of self sufficiency and imagination and if you don't, then learn from those who do. They actually have computers nowadays that are solar powered. Check it out."

I see a couple of others have already asked you this, and you ducked the question, so let me ask again - do you have one of those solar-powered computers, rshrink? A windmill, perchance? What? No? You mean you're just another troll trying to tell everyone else how to live without doing so yourself? Gee, what a surprise.

Yes, I counted your posts, out of curiosity. It looked like you had about half the posts here (which was almost exactly right after the count at the time, pretty sure you've past that now), and if calling attention to the inconsistencies and fallacies of moronic trolls is a 'compulsion,' then so be it. Now post your next 20 or 30 mindless cut-and-pastes (instead of trying to have an original thought) like a good little troll.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Notajay, if somehow your thinking that your posts are original, just spend a little time at Fox News or some other right wing rage show. And like I said before, I am not writing a term paper. I am not writing a work of great literature. I am gathering facts from people who are experts, not spinmeisters. I am not here to play games or troll as you like to call it. We have a serious problem and if some come here and learn from my efforts which are quite small compared to those who have dedicated their lives to gathering information to help us, then my time and effort will be well spent. I am not going to tell you what I have done to reduce my carbon footprint, because I can tell from your writings that you don't care. You have some other kind of agenda, so anyone who isn't lining up behind that agenda is just an enemy to be defeated. Sad, but hopefully reason will prevail and we will stop expending energy in the completely wrong direction.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

But the fact that mercury exists in buried soils doesn’t mean that it has always contaminated the aquatic food chain and the hydrologic system.

In fact, the mercury bound in soils and geological strata largely stays put. Mercury levels in fish and humans have risen sharply in the past 200 years, concurrent with the burning of enormous quantities of coal which releases mercury into the atmosphere and contaminates our air and water.

In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that the amount of mercury in the atmosphere is estimated to have increased by 200% to 500% since the beginning of the industrial revolution, when coal use skyrocketed. The US Department of Energy (DOE) projects that mercury emissions will continue to rise.

This mercury quickly enters the aquatic food chain, transforming into methylmercury which is blamed for a litany of neurological impacts in infants and young children during their most vulnerable periods of brain and nervous system development.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

This is the beginning of the 4th Myth which is finished in the previous post:

MYTH #4: There’s more mercury from “natural sources” than the coal industry releases, so there’s no reason to focus on reducing coal-related mercury emissions Coal’s defenders often point to the “200,000 tons of mercury that already exist in the soils and seas of the planet” to downplay the idea that we should be concerned about the 48 tons of mercury that coal-fired plants emit per year.

Ogallala_Kid 6 years ago

@snowwi. Using that "profligate" word a little much kiddo, aren't you. Did you get a gold star in spelling class last week? Good boy.

@rshrink Have you yet figured out the difference between Indiana and Kansas. Your principal or social studies teacher can help. And yes, you use Chamber of Commerce member provided electricity, gas, phone, cellphone, food, and cable everyday. You probably even go to Chamber of Commerce movie theaters, and computer game rental stores. Good luck with that "changing your lifestyle" schtick, which you won't.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Ogalla, have you learned how to debate an actual topic or are you still stuck in attempts to character assassinate. I bet you are one of the ones trying to get people worked up about Dijon mustard. Good luck with that too.

snowWI 6 years ago

"@snowwi. Using that “profligate” word a little much kiddo, aren't you. Did you get a gold star in spelling class last week? Good boy."

You have nothing further to contribute to the discussion. The Republicans love to demonize science and education.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

One out of every 50 people living near sites used to store ash or sludge from coal-fired power plants has a high risk of getting cancer, according to a just released government report kept from the public for seven years by the Bush Administration.

Ogallala_Kid 6 years ago

@snowwi Talk to you about a quote from the Ulysses mayor? Ha. Come on out, I'll introduce you, kiddo. To him and a number of other mayors, and city and county commissioners too. You can throw around that "prolifigate" word a few times. That'll keep 'em laughing.

They will agree with you on one thing. They don't think they are like eastern Kansas.

They sure aren't all Republicans. Only an idiot like you tries to make ground water into some party ideology thing. It is not. Certainly not out here. And didn't you notice that Democrats across the state supported the coal bills in Topeka last week? Haven't you noticed Obama supporting coal plants in his home state?

@rshrink. Until you start acting a little beyond a third grader, you will just get what you give. Not much.

Ogallala_Kid 6 years ago

rshrink (Anonymous) says… "One out of every 50 people living near sites used to store ash or sludge from coal-fired power plants plants has a high risk of getting cancer"

Better get on top of that rshrink. Tens of thousands of Lawrencians live closer to that Lawrence plant than will ever live near to the Holcomb plant.

Clean up your own front yard, before you start preaching out here.

Still using that Westar energy this afternoon?

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

"Coal ash, also known as fly ash, is the waste produced by burning coal. The nation’s power plants produce enough ash to fill 1 million railroad cars a year, according to a 2006 report by the National Research Council. Coal-burning power plants in Iowa produce 20,000 to 30,000 tons of coal ash every year. The Hawkeye State also imports coal ash from Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.

The ash contains high levels of arsenic, lead, mercury and boron, each of which has been known to cause cancer, neurological and development problems, and other illnesses. Yet for three decades, rules governing coal ash have been left up to the states, creating a patchwork of differing regulations with questionable effectiveness.

Environmental groups want the state to more strictly regulate these types of sites by requiring state-of-the-art liners and multiple monitors to safeguard human health and the environment.

The state DNR has been working for more than a year on draft rules to better regulate these disposal sites. But opposition from site owners and coal-burning businesses, along with uncertainty about what regulations the federal government may eventually impose, have caused the effort to stall. The Obama administration’s EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, said her agency will begin drafting new regulations for coal ash, likely to be released by the end of 2009. But environmentalists fear the new regulations won’t address the problem of unlined disposal sites.

In an interview with the Iowa Independent in March, Chad Stobbe, the DNR’s lead staffer on coal ash issues, said because there are currently no monitoring wells at these disposal sites to ensure groundwater is not being contaminated, he cannot say definitively that some sort of contamination isn’t taking place.

Coal ash also poses a serious danger to aquatic wildlife and ecosystems, the report said. One contaminant - boron - can be expected to leach into the environment at levels 2,000 times the threshold generally considered safe for aquatic life."

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Well, Ogalla, other posts have addressed pollution by burning coal, but this one is about living near ash disposal, that which is left over after the coal is burned. I'm sure there is housing available near ash dumping if you want to get an up close and personal look, perhaps something in Tennessee where a billion gallons of sludge got away.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Ogalla wrote: " @rshrink. Until you start acting a little beyond a third grader, you will just get what you give. Not much."

I don't expect people who are totally monkey brained to get anything from what I post, but those who can think, will get it. It must be really tough when people are subverting your efforts to propagandize. All you can do is name call and use put downs. Unfortunately, though, that won't work. Real information will win out.

hornhunter 6 years ago

And just think kid, the little shrink has all the real information.

I believe we need to ban everything, when burnt all we will get is ash. Maybe rshrink is burnt, his/her ash hole is spewing.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

So horn is demonstrating how profound he is and how he has so many answers, but uh, oh, uh, .... wait, oh yah, once again, no answers, no information, just more monkey brained put downs and fox/republican typical strategy. What do you think of Dijon Horn?

snowWI 6 years ago

"Ha. Come on out, I'll introduce you, kiddo. To him and a number of other mayors, and city and county commissioners too. You can throw around that “prolifigate” word a few times. That'll keep 'em laughing."

I would wager that I am older then you. By the way, when will the next regional report be released regarding the long-term groundwater situation in southwest Kansas?

"They will agree with you on one thing. They don't think they are like eastern Kansas"

Yes, southwest Kansas should join Texas. I am sure they would be much happier if they did if even with the passage of coal bill.

snowWI 6 years ago

"Ha. Come on out, I'll introduce you, kiddo. To him and a number of other mayors, and city and county commissioners too. You can throw around that “prolifigate” word a few times. That'll keep 'em laughing."

I would wager that I am older than you. By the way, when will the next regional report be released regarding the long-term groundwater situation in southwest Kansas?

"They will agree with you on one thing. They don't think they are like eastern Kansas"

Yes, southwest Kansas should join Texas. I am sure they would be much happier if they did if even with the passage of coal bill.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Uh, Heritage Foundation? Isn't that a right wing propaganda tank? Yah. that's right, it is. No scientists in that group. So, now we hear from the fringe element.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Yes Liberty, That's right, closed to those that are closed minded to science and rational thought.

snowWI 6 years ago

The right-wing in general HATES science and a rigorous intellectual debate.

notajayhawk 6 years ago

rshrink (Anonymous) says…

"I am not going to tell you what I have done to reduce my carbon footprint, because I can tell from your writings that you don't care."

27 words instead of a 'yes' or a 'no.'

When whiny trolls say "I'm not going to tell you ..." it's because they have no defensible answer. Try reducing your carbon footprint by shutting off your computer - THAT would be a great service to this planet.

Ogallala_Kid 6 years ago

@rshrink Never have told us how your computer is powered.

After proclaiming your absolute and total avoidance of trading with any Chamber of Commerce member, you have yet to tell us how you obtain the following:

Electricity, natural gas, telephone, cell-phone, groceries, insurance, video stores, cable-tv, internet provider, health insurance, vehicle insurance, airlines and aircraft manufacturers, many Mass. Street merchants....

You haven't.... because you can't.

Defend your statements, or expect nobody to ever debate anything with you.

Ogallala_Kid 6 years ago

rshrink, who wants us to think he is a smart little boy, but whom insisted several times on this thread that the following were obviously all members of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, and should be boycotted because of their interest in the Holcomb Coal Plant issue:

Indiana Funeral Care Indiana Newspapers Inc. Indianapolis Marathon Indianapolis Power & Light Hemophilia of Indiana Hoosier Office Machines

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Same old spinning mode learned no doubt from the masters of such; Limbaugh, Hannity and Coulter. Good job of learning a useless skill.

To the rag tag team of Ogalla, and not a jh.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Results showed that the risk of developing neurological disorders from ingesting catfish with such high levels of mercury as those caught near Kittanning were eight times higher than the EPA's acceptable risk for children under six years of age; seven times higher for children between seven and 16 years of age; and six times higher for women of child-bearing age. For the general population, this risk was five times higher than the EPA's acceptable risk. The results also indicated to the researchers that fish can be used as bio-sensors to locate and find sources of area pollution.

"Given these results, we should be concerned about fish caught in areas that are situated close to coal-fired power plants, even if upstream from more heavily polluted areas," said Conrad D. Volz, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., principal investigator, department of environmental and occupational health, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. "These types of power plants may be significant sources of mercury and selenium in fish contamination. We believe it is important for fish consumption advisories to take into account industries such as power plants that may be important sources of water pollution, and warn people in these areas about the dangers of consuming local fish."

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Mercury pollution:

Human-related sources primarily include coal combustion, waste incineration, industrial uses, and mining. During the last 150 years, human activities have more than doubled natural amounts of mercury in the atmosphere (Schuster and others, 2002).

Inorganic mercury (the form emitted to the environment) is generally not a health concern—it is poorly absorbed by the digestive tract. The real issue is methylmercury—an organic form that is highly toxic to the nervous system. Methylmercury is produced from inorganic mercury by methylation, a microbial process that is controlled by certain bacteria and enhanced by chemical and environmental variables, such as the presence of organic matter and oxygen. More than 95 percent of all mercury in fish is methylmercury, and this form of mercury biomagnifies to high concentrations at the top of food chains (Wiener and others, 2002).

Mercury contamination is widespread globally, originating from natural and human-related sources, including air transport from coal combustion, waste incineration, and mining. (Photograph by Phillip J. Redman, U.S. Geological Survey).

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Here is a form set up on the Kansas Chamber of Commerce to assist people in writing to Kansas Legislators demanding an override of the Governor's Veto of the building of the coal plant in Holcomb:

"Letter asking your Kansas Legislators to override the Governor's veto of the Comprehensive Energy Bill

Step One:

Please enter your name and address. Fields marked with an * are required. To access the fields without using a mouse or the tab key, press alt and the bolded letter to the left of the field."

See if for yourself, here:

Here we have the KANSAS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, directly trying to lobby for another coal plant in Kansas and they ran ads of TV and Radio as well. The speak about job creation, "1500 jobs." These would be temporary as the plant is built and more than likely, most of those jobs would be filled by people outside of Kansas. In fact, many may end up being outside of the US, if they follow the meat industry model.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Suggestion: Copy my letter from below and hand it out to businesses that are members of the Chamber of Commerce.

Dear Chamber member,

I am a citizen of Kansas. I oppose the building of more coal fired plants due to the increase in pollutants and overall damage to the ecosytem. The majority of scientists are concerned about the impact the use of coal has on the climate as well. The Chamber cited the adding of 1500 jobs. Those jobs would be temporary, as the plant is being built. In addition, it is likely that many of those jobs would be filled by people who come from outside of Kansas and likely outside of the US if they follow the model of the meat packing industry.

I am aware that the Kansas Chamber of Commerce lobbied for more coal plants in Kansas, when it was well known that the vast majority of that energy produced will go to other states. I question the ethics of their position for the above reasons. I am asking that your business write to the Chamber and to the Governor, asking that Kansans not be exposed to this out-dated polluting form of power production, in favor of development of clean and sustainable forms of energy production. The governor can read your requests at this email address:

Also, please alert your other members that local clientele are not happy with the position that the Chamber has taken.

Thank you,

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

It looks like Pilgrim's brain has already been irreparably damaged from mercury pollution. Poor fella. He doesn't even know. I suppose that is merciful.

hornhunter 6 years ago

shrink, Hopefully before to long the ex Gov. queen Kathy will have a national health care system in place so you can get back on your meds quickly. Buy the looks of all your posts your well over due.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Thanks Dr. Horny for your concern. Too bad you don't know anything about the topic you are supposedly here to post on.

hornhunter 6 years ago

shrink, I happen to know alot more of this subject then I care to discuss with people like yourself who know absolutely nothing on the subject other than what they have been told by others, who know the exact same, nothing... So good night Prof. Richard Dick Shrink

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Horny wrote: "I happen to know alot more of this subject then I care to discuss with people like yourself who know absolutely nothing on the subject other than what they have been told by others, who know the exact same, nothing…"

That's right horny, you don't really want to discuss this with people who know more than you. That would only end up with you looking like a fool. I realize you have to protect yourself. That's okay. I understand.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Here is what we should be putting our money and energy into if we want non-disastrous ways of making electricity.

"'Major discovery' from MIT primed to unleash solar revolution Scientists mimic essence of plants' energy storage system Anne Trafton, News Office July 31, 2008

In a revolutionary leap that could transform solar power from a marginal, boutique alternative into a mainstream energy source, MIT researchers have overcome a major barrier to large-scale solar power: storing energy for use when the sun doesn't shine.

Daniel Nocera describes new process for storing solar energy View video post on MIT TechTV

Until now, solar power has been a daytime-only energy source, because storing extra solar energy for later use is prohibitively expensive and grossly inefficient. With today's announcement, MIT researchers have hit upon a simple, inexpensive, highly efficient process for storing solar energy.

Requiring nothing but abundant, non-toxic natural materials, this discovery could unlock the most potent, carbon-free energy source of all: the sun. "This is the nirvana of what we've been talking about for years," said MIT's Daniel Nocera, the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy at MIT and senior author of a paper describing the work in the July 31 issue of Science. "Solar power has always been a limited, far-off solution. Now we can seriously think about solar power as unlimited and soon."

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

Here is what we are putting money into because of coal:

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will oversee the cleanup of a massive coal ash spill in Tennessee that brought national attention to the environmental risks of storing the power plant byproduct.

New EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said Monday the federal agency is taking charge and "bringing to bear its resources and expertise" under the federal Superfund law.

So far, the EPA has been assisting state regulators with the cleanup of 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash that spilled Dec. 22 from a retention pond at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Fossil Plant.

The spill covered 300 acres with grayish, toxic muck, destroyed or damaged 40 homes, and stirred a national debate on regulating ash facilities around the country.

Bob Hechlor 6 years ago

No Pil, you won't be able to see the damage by looking in the mirror. But there are tests for that.

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