Topeka A controversial power plant proposal is under consideration again.
Hays-based Sunflower Electric Power Corp. has filed a revised permit application for an 895-megawatt coal-burning unit near Holcomb in southwest Kansas.
The application was submitted to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment whose staff will conduct a review that will take from three to six months, the agency reported Wednesday.
Following the review, public hearings will be held to receive comment on the proposal.
“After the public comment period, KDHE will address any concerns and make revisions as necessary to prepare the permit for final issuance,” the KDHE news release said.
Sunflower Electric previously wanted to build two 700-megawatt units. Most of the power was to be sold out of state. But in October 2007, KDHE Secretary Roderick Bremby denied the permits, citing the effects of the plants’ potential carbon dioxide emissions on health and environment.
Bremby’s decision was hailed by environmentalists nationwide, but produced a bitter political fight in Kansas as Republican legislators blocked “green” energy legislation in an attempt to override the permit denial.
When former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who stood by Bremby’s decision, left office last year to lead the federal health and human services department, Gov. Mark Parkinson brokered a deal in May to allow Sunflower to build one coal-fired plant in return for legislative approval of the so-called renewable energy legislation.
Since then, President Barack Obama’s administration has sought to regulate C02 emissions because of their effect on climate change.
During the review period, KDHE said it and Sunflower “will also be coordinating with the Environmental Protection Agency, to address any federal requirements.”
The Kansas chapter of the Sierra Club opposes the construction of the plant.
“From both an economic and environmental perspective, we know that there are better options available to Sunflower than building an oversized, unneeded coal plant that is a risk to ratepayers,” said Stephanie Cole of the Sierra Club.
Sunflower has defended its proposal as needed to meet the energy needs of neighboring states. It says the facility will be among the cleanest-burning coal plants in the country.