Archive for Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kansas Attorney General-elect Derek Schmidt says he will closely scrutinize proposed federal environmental regulations

December 14, 2010


— Attorney General-elect Derek Schmidt said Tuesday his office would increase scrutiny of any environmental regulations the federal government proposes that might exceed federal authority.

Schmidt, a Republican who takes office in January, told The Associated Press that his administration would take a close look at any rules from the Environmental Protection Agency that might be harmful to Kansas.

“I think we’re in a period of time here where it’s going to be important for the states’ legal representatives to keep an eye on the federal administrative process related to a whole range of environmental energy regulations and raise concerns when it’s warranted,” Schmidt said. “We’re going to be paying very close attention.”

While not saying specifically what action he might take, Schmidt didn’t rule out joining a lawsuit a dozen states filed, challenging the EPA’s findings on greenhouse gas emissions.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, constituted pollution and could be regulated by the EPA.

Schmidt and other critics fear new rules set to take effect Jan. 2 will require farmers and others in agriculture to make significant modifications to their operations to reduce emissions. They worry the cost of that may force some producers out of business and further drag on a struggling economy.

But Sierra Club spokeswoman Stephanie Cole said the rules apply only to the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, not small farmers in western Kansas.

“The claims are inflated and there is a lot of misinformation. New rules aren’t going to apply to them,” Cole said. “We’re hearing it on a daily basis.”

Schmidt said members of Congress should set the rules, based on what’s best for constituents, not the EPA.

The new rules require new power plants to use the best available technology for controlling greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.

They have prompted Sunflower Electric Power Corp., which serves western Kansas, to try to get an air-quality permit by year’s end to build a new power coal-fired plant near Holcomb. If it gets the permit this year, Sunflower has promised to use the best available technology to make the plant clean, but under existing state and federal rules.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected an industry challenge to the new rules on Friday, clearing the way for them to take effect next month.

Schmidt said the Kansas economy was “energy intensive” and the new federal regulations could cost the state.

“We want to make sure as the federal government moves in whatever direction it chooses to move it does so with the consent of the people’s elected representatives in Congress and not beyond that,” he said.

But Cole and other environmentalists say the EPA has a 40-year record of balancing air quality with business interests without destroying the economy.

“We know we can do both. These claims that the sky is falling are not true,” she said.

Schmidt said the challenge was similar to action filed by states in opposition to the new federal health care law, which includes an individual mandate for insurance. Schmidt intends to join other states in the health care litigation shortly after he takes office.

Joining him in his concern about federal intrusion is Republican Gov.-elect Sam Brownback, who has vowed to do only the minimum required to implement the new health care law and push back when possible.


pace 7 years, 6 months ago

i hope he is making sure what harms Kansan's isn't him letting some corporations skip rules that protect working families living down river. Mavericks, fat from getting the power, eager to spin rather than lead. He is leading the mob for deregulating the environmental protections, that won't pay our doctor bills. Are we suppose to donate clean drinking water to the "job producers" . Cutting regulations, cutting taxes, cutting corners, for the corporations , what good having richer millionaires if our children die from their run off?

Joe Hyde 7 years, 6 months ago

I hope any state "protection" we receive from those irksome EPA regs isn't so effective that I'm forced to trade my fly rod for a fly swatter.

meggers 7 years, 6 months ago

I wonder if that has anything to do with the Koch brothers' well-documented opposition to environmental regulation. We're in for quite a ride, folks, and it isn't going to be pretty.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 6 months ago

That pretty much sums it up. The Koch brothers don't mind environmental regulations, as long as they are wholly ineffective and/or unenforced.

parrothead8 7 years, 6 months ago

"Schmidt, a Republican who takes office in January, told The Associated Press Tuesday that his administration will take a close look at any rules from the Environmental Protection Agency that might be harmful to Kansas."

"And by harmful," Schmidt said, "I mean economically harmful. Air and water quality don't really matter if you've got money."

Hudson Luce 7 years, 6 months ago

Supremacy Clause. Have fun and try not to waste too much money spinning your wheels.

gccs14r 7 years, 6 months ago

As if Kansas wasn't already moving backwards, now we've got a fresh bunch looking squarely at their own behinds.

thatonedude 7 years, 6 months ago

sigh Back to having a Phill Kline-style AG (far-right politics over law enforcement), I see.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 6 months ago

"Schmidt said members of Congress should set the rules, based on what’s best for constituents, not the EPA."

The problem with this is that members of Congress are the ones who gave the power to make the rules to the EPA, and they have the power to take it back. The EPA is under the authority of an elected Congress and an elected President.

Oddly enough, from 2001 to 2009 Schmidt and Brownback had not problem with that arrangement. Even so, if they want Congress to have the power than the way to accomplish that is for Congress to pass legislation. Brownback in particular is aware of this, because there is legislation in the US Senate to accomplish that goal.

What Schmidt and Brownback want to do is file lawsuits and let an unelected judge decide. I wonder why they hate democracy.

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 6 months ago

Derek Schmidt comments are totally political which is probably what everything he does has been and will be in the future. Therefore, we can assume that he will be an incompetent servant of the people but do well for his political career.

Everybody involved in the environmental business knows which states care about the environment and which states do lip service only; the lip-service-only states like the good ole boy networks of prime contractors and engineers they have been smoozing with for the last decades. It is a system loaded with billions of dollars and they like to keep it to themselves.

It is about money, power and politics and it is a joke to watch these guys get elected and make their little political speeches. A total joke.

I have met a lot of younger engineers who wish things would change but they won't change very soon in the state of Kansas. Perhaps when the reservoirs run dry from over silting or some other environmental disaster, such as the draining of the Ogallalla Aquifer will wake people up but I think the only hope for change, as usual, will be the threat of fines from the federal government. How convenient for Schmidt to start off his new job by attacking the very entity that is the only hope for a change in the good ole boy network we have working in Kansas.

ferrislives 7 years, 6 months ago

Good job Kansas. You elected another ideologue like Phill Kline. So now instead of dealing with the internal affairs of our state, we're going to waste our time and money to join a bunch of lawsuits with other states.

Wow, a real crime fighter huh? What a complete joke!

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