Archive for Thursday, September 9, 2010

Kansas lawmakers, federal regulators butt heads over greenhouse gas regulations

September 9, 2010


— Federal environmental officials on Thursday urged Kansas to adopt greenhouse gas regulations, but some state legislators balked at the idea.

State Rep. Carl Holmes, R-Liberal and chair of the House Energy and Utilities Committee, told EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks that the regulations will cause manufacturing plants and jobs to move overseas where there are no restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions. “Is that the intent of this administration?” he asked during a House-Senate committee meeting on energy and environmental policy.

Brooks responded that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and President Barack Obama are committed to growing the American economy. He said opponents of regulations often argue that the rules will hurt the economy but that the U.S. economy has grown like "gangbusters" during the past 40 years of environmental regulation under the Clean Air Act.

"A case can be made that when we take care of people's health and when we take care of our natural resources, everybody benefits," Brooks said.

States are being told by the EPA to adjust their rules to accommodate federal greenhouse gas measures that require large carbon dioxide emitters, such as coal-fired electric power plants, to utilize "best available control technologies" to reduce emissions. If a state doesn't incorporate the rules, the EPA will take over that state's permitting process.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is currently working on plans to implement the federal rule.

But Texas officials have written a letter to the EPA saying they will challenge the new regulations.

Holmes asked Brooks what would happen if Kansas sent him a similar letter. Brooks said he hadn't seen the letter but added, “I'm glad Texas is not in Region 7.” Region 7 covers Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa.

In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Clean Air Act gives the EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gasses, which most scientists say are causing climate change. In May, the EPA issued its new rules that will require consideration of greenhouse gas emission in permits for large industrial facilities that emit 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, which is the equivalent to the energy use of 9,000 homes or 18,000 vehicles.

This could affect a proposal by Sunflower Electric Power Corp. to build an 895-megawatt coal-fired plant in southwest Kansas if it is not permitted by Jan. 2.

Chris Cardinal, a spokesman for the Kansas chapter of the Sierra Club, said the new EPA rule will help reduce climate change, which if left unchecked will produce dire consequences for the state.

Kansas University researchers have projected that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, the state will experience higher temperatures, which will stress crops and livestock.

“Continued inaction to slow global warming is irresponsible, as there is a shared responsibility to protect the environment, the public health, and vulnerable, at-risk communities,” Cardinal said.


preebo 7 years, 9 months ago


Luckily, the U.S. EPA has final authority on these matters and Kansas will have to comply if they want federal matching funds.

lucky_guy 7 years, 9 months ago

Doesn't matter now. That is the ironic point. The coal plant has been approved. The costs, real or imagined are in the rate base and so it doesn't matter if the plant gets built or generates even 1 KWH of e. It is even better for the owners if the State and EPA fight this for years the rate payers still pay. Period. The devil has won and is just patiently waiting to be paid.

Bill Griffith 7 years, 9 months ago

Ummm....the coal plant has not been approved and Sunflower has not put any of the development costs in the rate base because Tri-State from Colorado has been paying the development costs and (I assume) passing it on to their lucky ratebase.

No matter which side you are on I am constantly surprised on the lack of knowledge by our legislators in general with regards to federal rules-especially if they are committee chairs, vice-chairs, or ranking minority members-with some exceptions. Sloan and Kuether seem up on matters for the most part.

chzypoof1 7 years, 9 months ago

You guys are right! Thank gosh the feds can come in and tell us what to do in OUR state. Whew. We are safe now!!!

preebo 7 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, it's called federalism. Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, perhaps you've heard of it. You might remember that the whole secession movement ended about 140 years ago. ...and yes, Kansas does fall within the boundaries of the United States.

Rokchalk 7 years, 9 months ago

Thanks Scott for that one-sided report. "most scientists"? Hardly! Global warming is BS!

Rokchalk 7 years, 9 months ago

Global Warming...Number 1 threat to unicorns...after the Dragons fly away!

mr_right_wing 7 years, 9 months ago

The number 1, most abundant "greenhouse gas" is water vapour; much more abundant than c02. Once we get that under control then we can worry about the lesser causes!

We must seriously decrease our water vapour footprint first!

If we ELIMINATE that, the c02 probably won't even matter anymore.

lounger 7 years, 9 months ago

Kansas is hard headed when it comes to the feds sometimes-a mixed blessing for sure. In this case I think it wise that they (In Topeka) bend a bit on this issue. We DO have clean air here but with an increase in population (its happening everywhere) and the new coal plants our relatively clean air will disappear. We need to modernize and be a bit more progressive.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 9 months ago

Oil magnate billionaire Koch brothers join two Texas oil companies in spending millions to spread misinformation, exploit economic anxiety, and protect their profits in a bid to block implementation of California's clean energy law.

UCS urges Californians to defend their public health and economic well-being against Big Oil interests by voting no on Proposition 23.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 9 months ago

Union of Concerned Scientists

Global Warming

Global warming is one of the most serious challenges facing us today. To protect the health and economic well-being of current and future generations, we must reduce our emissions of heat-trapping gases by using the technology, know-how, and practical solutions already at our disposal. Features

Status of U.S.Comprehensive Climate and Energy Legislation The House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act in June 2009. For this bill to become law during the 111th Congress, the Senate must pass similar comprehensive climate and energy legislation. Several climate and energy bills have been released in the Senate in the last year, but the full Senate has yet to vote on a single one.

The Weight of the Evidence UCS is leading a campaign to elevate the voices of climate scientists around the country to disprove fallacies and educate the public about the real facts on global warming. Click on the link above to see how you can help.

Costs of Climate Inaction Unchecked climate change could saddle taxpayers with hundreds of billions of dollars in damages—from flooding and storm damage in coastal communities to health care costs and agricultural losses in our heartland. Learn about costs in your region, and the Senate bill aimed at limiting our climate impact.

New Study Shows Sensible Path to Clean Energy Economy Climate 2030: A National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy found that implementing a smart set of climate, energy, and transportation policies can save consumers and businesses money while deeply reducing our nation's heat-trapping emissions.

ralphralph 7 years, 9 months ago

The Dems are willing to kill Kansas to "Save the Planet". Hint: Unless China plays along, it really doesn't matter what we do in Kansas. Might as well let 'er rip!

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