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Archive for Friday, February 11, 2011

Former KDHE secretary Rod Bremby says he did not resign

Bremby says ‘abuses’ occurred in permit process

Rod Bremby talks about his November departure as secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. In his first public appearance since leaving the KDHE, Bremby spoke at Kansas City Kansas Community College Thursday, Feb. 10.

February 11, 2011

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Former Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Rod Bremby talked in public for the first time since being removed from office in November. He was speaking to students at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

Former Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Rod Bremby talked in public for the first time since being removed from office in November. He was speaking to students at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

Rod Bremby said he was shocked when Gov. Mark Parkinson removed him as secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

That decision came back in November and after Bremby said he was asked to resign as head of the KDHE to coordinate the cabinet transition from Parkinson’s administration to that of incoming Gov. Sam Brownback. While Bremby said he was happy to help with the transition, he wasn’t willing to leave his office to do so.

On Thursday in his first public appearance since leaving office, Bremby quickly cleared the air about his departure.

“I did not resign. I did not step down. I did not quit. I was removed, and you can label that however you wish,” Bremby told a crowd at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

Bremby said he never had the opportunity to ask the governor why he was removed.

“Inside, I think I know what the issue is. But because my speculation or my beliefs could impact someone else’s character, I am reluctant to do that,” he said.

On Nov. 2, Bremby was placed on administrative leave, but continued to be on the state payroll.

“That was not my solution, but that was the solution around severance,” he said.

Bremby, who lives in Lawrence, spent much of the hour-and-half-long talk defending his most controversial decision during his nearly eight years as secretary. In 2007, he denied Sunflower Electric Power Corp.’s permit to build a coal-fired power plant in western Kansas.

Bremby’s decision on the $2.8 billion plant in Holcomb was supported by then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

In 2009, Parkinson became governor and crafted a deal to allow for the project in exchange for reducing the plant down from two 700-megawatt plants and getting legislators to approve renewable-energy legislation.

Sunflower re-entered the permit process. After Bremby’s departure, replacement John Mitchell approved a permit for a proposed 895-megawatt coal-burning power plant, just before new federal regulations on greenhouse gases went into effect in January.

All Bremby would say Thursday about the governor's agreement with Sunflower was that he passed his advice onto the governor and has not commented on the decision publicly. He said he didn't have any communication with the governor regarding the latest permit. However, Bremby was willing to talk about the politics involved in the decision.

“The process was not a benign, pristine, routine bureaucratic process. Unfortunately, there were abuses,” Bremby said.

“If you look at the influence of lobbying dollars in this process, it is staggering. If we are to protect this exercise, this way of governing ourselves, things like this can’t happen,” he said.

At the time of his decision, Bremby denied the power plant’s application because of the “contribution of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to climate change and the potential harm to our environment and health.”

It was a decision that was hailed by environmentalists across the country.

During his talk Thursday, Bremby defended his legal right to deny the permit and the science that supports climate change.

For those on either side of the coal-fire power plant debate, Bremby said they should search for areas where they agree and then go from there. Kansans need to start thinking collectively about how to be sustainable.

“I don’t think we have the luxury of dismissing people with disparate opinions,” Bremby said. “But I do think it is going to take a lot more work and a lot more effort than I know how to start.”

While Bremby said he loved serving Kansas as KDHE secretary, he is ready to move on. As for what’s next, Bremby said he doesn’t know.

Comments

prairierose54 3 years, 2 months ago

The insider is spot on. There was a lot of stuff going on in that department that the public was not aware of. The health screening was just one of many "I'll rub your back if you rub mine" going on. But, I guess he learned from a pro in Kathleen. Except. when it came time to rub his back she lost his phone number.

I don't know what great things he did for Lawrence but KDHE will never be the same. Maybe Lawrence can find another job for him.

PS. He hasn't been married for quite some time. Maybe she got tired of his crap too!

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think_about_it 3 years, 2 months ago

" and stopped practicing privately in order to work at a clinic in Topeka that serves low-income people". jafs

BS- They filed for Bankruptcy in 2007 and she now has a practice in Valley Falls. Lost their house and left the rest of us to clean up their mess.

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 2 months ago

What other nefarious deeds did governor Parkinson perform?

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jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

I don't know Mr. Bremby personally, but I knew his wife - she was our doctor. She was the best doctor we've ever seen, and stopped practicing privately in order to work at a clinic in Topeka that serves low-income people.

She undoubtedly could have made more money in private practice, and was a very caring and extremely competent doctor.

My guess is that her husband is a pretty good guy as well.

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LeBo 3 years, 2 months ago

Hey, thats politics! You cannot be upset! At least Egypt is almost free!

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wastewatcher 3 years, 2 months ago

Right on to the insider above. While Bremby is explaining, it would be great if he could explain his bankruptcy while earning over a hundred K per year. This fellow has a lot of explaining to do, but remember he was one of Sebelius' ultra liberal lackeys.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 3 years, 2 months ago

Clinton said he did not have sex with that woman.

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the_insider 3 years, 2 months ago

I would be interested in hearing Rod's comments on why he was rarely in the office or came to work his last two years on the job. It wasn't because he had work related meetings, because he constantly failed to show for meetings or appearances while in office. He would call in at the last minute and make up an excuse why he couldn't be there. Or maybe he would tell us why he spent money on an unnecessary and unbudgeted program for employee health screenings (which the state already offered) while he was laying off people to cut his budget. Maybe it was because the person that got the six-figure contract was a personal friend from Leavenworth. And why did our state leadership tolerate it when everyone in Topeka knew it was going on? I would be much more interesting to hear about that.

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lucky_guy 3 years, 2 months ago

The BIG issue is yet to come. Where will Sunflower, which is effectively bankrupt, get the capital to finish the plant? That is big shoe that has yet to fall. This is all preliminary. If Sunflower can't get an investor(s) to pony up $ Billions the KS legislature will be inundated with lobbyists to pass bonds to finance the project.
Every coal/oil/energy group from everywhere that has a stake will be in Topeka lobbying the project to be financed. The Repubs in the KS legislature will sell what is left of there souls to get this done so Brownback can look like he is probusiness, and proenergy. If the plant goes through then the electricity will go west because Colorado and California are converting to natural gas and shutting down or converting their coal plants. The financing is the key here. C02 regulation, was a strawman to play some politics and stop the project and get some attention.

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Soapbox 3 years, 2 months ago

I know some of his former KDHE upper management employees, one I am related to and when he left they said the same thing they did when he joined KDHE. 1. He is not qualified for the position. 2. He is a "yes man".

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gudpoynt 3 years, 2 months ago

1) Bremby denies permit, Sebelius agrees. 2) Obama wins, Sebelius leaves. 3) Parkinson makes a deal to allow < 700 megawatt plant. 4) Parkinson replaces Bremby with Mitchell. 5) Mitchell approves 895 megawatt plant days before new federal regulations take effect.

Face palm.

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jayhawklawrence 3 years, 2 months ago

China definitely has shown the ability to execute their plans more efficiently and with better long range planning than we have.

When economies are booming, everybody looks like a winner. Japan looked like the greatest country in the history of mankind before they hit the wall.

Unfortunately, the US government does not have a good track record when it comes to "investing" tax dollars and getting a good ROI and I have not seen any new political candidates that do anything other than scare me with their oversized ambitions and undersized qualifications. Does anyone still trust our intelligence agencies and their analysts? I hope not.

I think we are in a race to adapt to a rapidly changing world in which resources that we have taken for granted in the past will become scarce in the near future. It will come as a shock to the American people when these scarcities start to impact our quality of life in more dramatic ways.

If things contnue the way they are, we may be hoping for a compassionate China in the future to come to our rescue and in that day, our concept of what we are as Americans may be changed forever.

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Les Blevins 3 years, 2 months ago

The reason China is eating our lunch today is they are bolder when it comes to investing in technology and don't need to worry about the politics and division we have in this country.

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Les Blevins 3 years, 2 months ago

“A fundamental rule in technology says that whatever can be done will be done”
~ Andy Grove, Co-founder of Intel

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Les Blevins 3 years, 2 months ago

“It is critical that we do everything we can to reduce our dependence on petroleum based fuels. Turning waste products into energy is good for the economy, local job creation and our environment." ~ Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Les Blevins 3 years, 2 months ago

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein

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Les Blevins 3 years, 2 months ago

The technology I'm offering to remedy things can process coal in a much cleaner manner than it is being processed today, and it can process coal into power or biofuels. The actual process is known as oxygen-blown gasification and it works. What is so amazing to me is that KU faculty refused to come out and see it for themselves and let me explain it for them. This I believe is because they could tell when I went up to Learned Hall and showed them my patent and started the process of explaining it they soon saw that it is a very disruptive technology exactly like Sec. Steven Chu of the DOE says is needed and is calling for and the KU people decided the fossil fuel industry would very likely pay them much more not to get involved in developing it than the DOE would invest in developing it.

“Biofuels will play an important role in America’s clean energy portfolio,” “These projects will allow us to decrease our dependence on foreign oil, support the growth of the biofuels industry and create jobs here at home.”

~Secretary Steven Chu

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 2 months ago

Surely Obama has a spot for this poor displaced man. I think he'd fit like a glove in Mr. O's fine administration.

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prairierose54 3 years, 2 months ago

Anyone who accepts an unclassified position with the state can be let go at any time for any reason. When a person accepts a postition such as this they know the terms when they accept it. Why is he crying about it now? He made a lot of salary sitting home until Brownback took control.

He was Kathleen's puppet and she didn't repay him for getting her the attention she got.

Where are his credentials that give him more knowledge than the people writing the permit?

The laws were followed in the permit. People might not like the laws but until they are changed they are the laws that govern how permits are issued.

His anger should be addressed to Kathleen for letting him down and leaving him high and dry. Not Brownback for cleaning Kathleen's house.

Plus...He sounds like a baby that got kicked out of the playpen. Grow Up. Your life as the head of a Department in the State is over. Move on. I can't recall an ex secretary calling a news conference to whine. This is truly a first. And I might add, not very professional.

Watch where he winds up being employed. Then you'll see where he was feathering the nest for future employment.

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tomatogrower 3 years, 2 months ago

Thank you, Mr. Bremby, for trying to protect Kansas' environment so that Colorado can have cheap electricity. Nothing political about it. Waste the little water we have out there so Colorado can have a clean environment and lots of cheap electricity? A few people will get really rich, and the early description of Kansas as a great wasteland will come true.

I don't understand those who support this. They are all concerned about leaving our children with a huge national debt, but it's ok to leave them with a filthy environment? Which would you rather have health or wealth? Give me health any day.

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Alceste 3 years, 2 months ago

Elvis Costello wrote a song just for the likes of a certain poster. In fact his/her image is right on the video link provided below!!!

Town Cryer:

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 2 months ago

More facts on the matter from KC Star http://www.kansascity.com/2011/02/09/2644900/power-plants-promises-come-up.html

What Sunflower officials claim and the reality are two every different animals. EPA would need to set up an office at the construction and monitor construction each step of the way.

Sunflower cannot be trusted.

Gov Parkinson and other elected officials are being fed a line of crap to feed to the public. These mouth pieces have no clue. Most likely most know very little about coal fired pollution.

The bottom line so it appears Sunflower tells people what say. These people go out and say it. Sunflower then proceeds to build the cheapest polluting plant possible and the elected officials would never know any different. Once construction has commenced Sunflower somehow seems confident that inspectors would look the other way

Elected officials live an illusion. They believe white collar executives from corp america fear them.

Sunflower has zero intentions of building the cleanest possible coal plant possible.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 2 months ago

Why haul in coal that is hundreds if not a thousand miles away when we have wind,solar,hydro and geo thermal locally?

Clean-energy activities produce more jobs, dollar for dollar, than fossil fuel-related activities. This is because clean-energy activities tend to be more labor intensive (i.e., more investment dollars go to hiring workers than buying machines), have a higher domestic content (i.e., more dollars are spent on goods and services produced within the United States) and have lower average wages than fossil fuel-related activities.

The figures in the table below show how a $1 million investment in clean-energy activities would create more than three times the number of jobs that would be created by investing the same amount in fossil fuels. (See Heidi Garrett-Peltier, Saving Energy Creates Jobs, Dollars & Sense, May/June 2009.) Chart: Job Creation: Clean Energy vs. Fossil Fuels http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0910wicks-lim.html

Second, many clean energy sector jobs would be accessible to workers with no college experience. The table also shows how the jobs created by a $1 million investment in clean energy would be spread across three levels of education: high school degree or less, some college, and B.A. or more.

Nearly half of the clean energy jobs would be held by workers with a high school degree or less. These include jobs for construction laborers, carpenters, and bus drivers. Fewer than one-quarter of clean-energy jobs would require a B.A. or more. The figures for the fossil fuels sector (second column) show that they are more heavily weighted toward jobs requiring college degrees.

Does this mean green investments will just create lots of low-paying jobs? No. The figures in the table below show that investing $1 million in green activities rather than fossil fuel-related activities would generate many more jobs for workers at all three levels of formal education credentials.

Compared to the fossil fuels sector, the clean energy sector would produce nearly four times the number of jobs that require a high school degree or less, three times the number of jobs that require some college experience, and 2.5 times the number of jobs that require a B.A. or more. Green investments would produce more jobs at all education and wage levels, even while generating proportionately more jobs that are accessible to workers with a high school degree or less.

Workers are right to worry about whether these high school degree jobs would offer family-supporting wages. Construction laborers, for example, average at $29,000 annually—awfully close to the $22,000 official poverty line. In addition, women and workers of color have historically faced discrimination in the construction industry, which would be the source of a lot of the lower-credentialed jobs in the clean energy sector.

http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0910wicks-lim.html

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 2 months ago

Coal Ash Is More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste

By burning away all the pesky carbon and other impurities, coal power plants produce heaps of radiation

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=coal-ash-is-more-radioactive-than-nuclear-waste

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macon47 3 years, 2 months ago

i am sorry rod lost his job but this was not news, and hardly news worthy it was no suprise, and what normally occurs in a political arena when a new party takes over. he was aware of the traditions when he signed on, and has nothing to whine about

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OutlawJHawk 3 years, 2 months ago

seeker-ethics in politics, pleeeaaase. Bremby is like every other politician; he is just paid by the environmental lobby. Every decision in this country is bought and paid for; where have you been living? Two different sides, but the same coin...just got to slip that coin in a politician's pocket.

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seeker_of_truth 3 years, 2 months ago

Tend to think Bremby is the only honest, ethical person in the entire fiasco. Parkinson definitely wasn't and Sunflower definitely bought and paid for the decision.

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Alceste 3 years, 2 months ago

While coal may be "dirty" in the sense that when you touch it, you need to clean your hand, the jury remains out with respect to it's practicality and function in supplying energy. If one removes emotion from the equation, coal just may be the answer to our energy problems.
Suggestion: Read the article: Dirty Coal, Clean Future in the progressive publication, The Atlantic. The article can be found here: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/12/dirty-coal-clean-future/8307/

The article summary goes thusly: "To environmentalists, “clean coal” is an insulting oxymoron. But for now, the only way to meet the world’s energy needs, and to arrest climate change before it produces irreversible cataclysm, is to use coal—dirty, sooty, toxic coal—in more-sustainable ways. The good news is that new technologies are making this possible. China is now the leader in this area, the Google and Intel of the energy world. If we are serious about global warming, America needs to work with China to build a greener future on a foundation of coal. Otherwise, the clean-energy revolution will leave us behind, with grave costs for the world’s climate and our economy."

The writer believes in wind and hydro power but this writer also is a pramatist who understands neither can meet our energy needs, unless our consumption lifestyle is drastically scaled back. That's never going to happen.

Excerpts: “To stabilize the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, the whole world on average would need to get down to the Kenya level”—a 96 percent reduction for the United States...";

“Solar and wind power are going to be important, but it is really hard to get them beyond 10 percent of total power supply.”

"...pointed out the huge engineering achievement it has taken to raise the efficiency of solar photovoltaic cells from about 25 percent to about 30 percent; whereas “to make them useful, you would need improvements of two- or threefold in cost,” say from about 18 cents per kilowatt-hour to 6 cents. He recited a skeptic’s line used about the Carter administration’s clean-energy programs—“You’re not going to run a steel plant with solar panels”—and then made a point that summarized the outlook of those who have decided they can best wage the climate fight by working on dirty, destructive coal."

Affiant further sayeth naught.

Rod Bremby is no "whistle blower".....he's just a guy who got tossed off the gravy train and realizes the party is over. shrug

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Les Blevins 3 years, 2 months ago

I think we should admire a man who stands for what's right more than one who stands for what's expected.

“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things for the reformer has enemies in all who profit from the old order.”

--Niccolo Machiavelli, 1513 .

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Les Blevins 3 years, 2 months ago

Maybe he is arrogand and maybe not, maybe he will find employment in the power industry or maybe not. Time will tell!

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Alceste 3 years, 2 months ago

Bremby is nothing more than a political hack who was appointed by a political hack to do the work of a political hack.

Additionally, what's all this nonsense about "severence"? Bremby, in the final analysis, was a state worker. Since when does a state worker get "severence" when they quit or are fired? Bremby was paid $107,990.22 for year 2009 per http://www.kansasopengov.org/StateGovernment/SGPayGrid/tabid/1553/Default.aspx .

Bremby was paid $106,673.19 for 2008 per the same web site and he was paid $102,723.97 for 2007, again, per the same web site. In those three years alone, Bremby raked in $317,387.38 PLUS what ever perks he got from his fellow political hacks.

What does this guy expect? It was his choice to play ward heel politician. When you lay down with DOGS YOU PICK UP FLEAS. Easy come and easy go. This guy lived the GOOD LIFE for many years. Methinks he's finding it very tough to adjust to what the vast majority of us struggle with day to day....and he does so with an arrogant sense of entitlement.

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OutlawJHawk 3 years, 2 months ago

Well, he wont be getting a job in the power plant industry...

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Les Blevins 3 years, 2 months ago

I hope Rod will give me a call as I would like to talk with him about what he does next. He will remember me as we visited some years ago at my place and again later in his office where I outlined my position on the issues of the environment and of power generation. The people still need Rod Bremby and I'm not talking only about the people of Kansas or only about the people living today. We the People still need Rod Bremby.

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KEITHMILES05 3 years, 2 months ago

Bremby himself allowed politics into his decision to deny the permit. He allowed Kathy Alloverus to influence the political angle and sadly caved in to her whims. He has alot of gall acting like he is the villian when Parkinson sacked him. The guy obviously has not the scrupples or gall to make a judgement on the FACTS which were presented to him by his own staff. Yes,his own staff recommended approval of the permit. However, he allowed politics to trump.

These are the facts regardless of his blubbering in public otherwise.

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petronius 3 years, 2 months ago

This should be on national news!

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pace 3 years, 2 months ago

Bremby is a classy man. Kansas was lucky to have his service. The new CRRB board which has taken over many of the KDHE duties will have a high standard of conduct to follow. I hope the best to Mr. Bremby and I expect where ever he goes he will be of good service.

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