Topeka The Kansas Sierra Club on Friday filed a legal challenge to the state permit for an 895-megawatt coal-burning electric power plant in southwest Kansas.
The lawsuit alleges that the permit issued last month by the Kansas Department and Health and Environment fails to adequately control hazardous pollutants. It also says that the permitting process was improperly influenced by special interests.
"When it comes to millions of tons of pollution for a coal plant that is not needed for Kansas, there is no place for mistake or misconduct," said Stephanie Cole, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Sierra Club.
The proposal by Sunflower Electric Power Corp. to build a coal-fired plant near Holcomb has been at the center of controversy for several years.
In 2007, then-KDHE Secretary Roderick Bremby rejected Sunflower Electric's proposal to build two 700-megawatt plants, citing the threat of greenhouse gas emissions on environment and health.
When Gov. Mark Parkinson took office in 2009 he brokered a deal with Sunflower that would allow one 895-megawatt plant.
As the permit process neared Bremby's desk, some supporters of the project complained that Bremby was dragging his feet.
In November, Bremby was no longer secretary. Parkinson had said he asked Bremby to take a job to help manage the transition of incoming Gov. Sam Brownback and Bremby refused.
Shortly after Bremby was gone, the new permit was issued.
Under the proposal, Sunflower's partner Tri-State Transmission and Generation Association Inc. of Westminster, Colo., would get 75 percent of the power for customers in Colorado.
The lawsuit was filed in the Kansas Court of Appeals by attorney Robert Eye and attorneys for Earthjustice.