Archive for Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Statehouse Live: Sierra Club wants EPA to prevent construction of coal-fired plant in southwest Kansas

Holcomb 1, pictured above, is operating at 85 percent capacity. The Holcomb Station Project proposed by Sunflower Electric Power Corporation would add a second plant that would operate at 90 percent capacity.

Holcomb 1, pictured above, is operating at 85 percent capacity. The Holcomb Station Project proposed by Sunflower Electric Power Corporation would add a second plant that would operate at 90 percent capacity.

March 1, 2011, 8:55 a.m. Updated March 1, 2011, 5:06 p.m.


— Environmentalists have called on the EPA to prevent construction of a proposed 895-megawatt coal-burning power plant in southwest Kansas.

In a letter to EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks, the Kansas chapter of the Sierra Club says state environmental officials at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment repeatedly failed to make the plant’s permit meet minimum requirements under the Clean Air Act.

“EPA must either require KDHE to issue an amended permit, including new emission limitations following a new public comment period, or EPA must take action to prevent the construction of this unlawful facility,” Amanda Goodin, attorney for the Sierra Club said in the letter that was released Tuesday.

The dispute is over a proposal by Sunflower Electric Power Corp. to build an 895-megawatt coal-fired plant near Holcomb.

Last month, the EPA’s Brooks had written KDHE Secretary Robert Moser, saying that EPA found the state-issued permit for the plant was too lax in limits on emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide.

Officials from Sunflower Electric and KDHE have defended the permit, which was approved in December.

On Tuesday, KDHE General Counsel Caleb Stegall said, “KDHE stands behind its permit as issued. We look forward to defending it before the Kansas Supreme Court and are confident that the permit complies with all applicable state and federal air quality requirements.”

The letter from Goodin repeats allegations that state executive and legislative officials interfered with the permitting process. The letter also maintains that KDHE repeatedly ignored EPA’s guidance on federal air quality standards during the permit process.


Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

It is the only sensible path.

Why? Because not only is it a huge polluting device it will require my tax dollars to guarantee the cost of construction an cost of insurance. This is reckless use of my money.

Meanwhile CEO's blow money on politicians,high dollar pay packages,golden parachutes and shareholders. NOT on my tax dollars thank you!!!!

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 1 month ago

You mean pollution like your lawn mowers?

Randall Uhrich 7 years, 1 month ago

They're going to build this stupid polluting thing costing Kansas taxpayers' money, then have to go to Colorado to find customers to buy the output. Colorado knows better than to allow it to be built there. Talk about a solution where there's no problem, other than the coal industry wanting to increase consumption of their surplus. This is the unbridled greed of Corporate America at its worst. Every single person who backs this plant is a crook!

straightforward 7 years, 1 month ago

Heaven forbid a company in Kansas produce a product and sell it in a different state. Is it okay with you if we use water from our aquifers to grow corn, even if we sell it to other states? It's called exporting. It creates jobs here, sells a product someplace else, and then the money comes back into our state. Makes perfect sense. But what do I know, I guess I'm probably just a greedy corporate crook, right rduhrich?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

I'm sure there are lots of child-porn aficionados who'd love to see some Kansas kids. Step right on up. It's just business, after all.

Chris Golledge 7 years, 1 month ago

So, what you are saying is that you don't think there has ever been or ever will be any means of generating electricity other than burning coal. Hmmm.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

"In fact, abolish the EPA and see our economy grow."

We wouldn't be able to breathe the air or drink the water, but the Koch brothers' bank accounts would be even fuller. Very convincing.

Ken Lewis 7 years, 1 month ago

Expand Time for the lobbyist to go to work. In fact, one of our own KS Congressman recently introduced and passed, an amendment to the federal budget, that gave big refineries and big coal powered plants a pass on federal environmental regulations.

He heralded it as a savings to the federal govt. I dont understand how giving these privates companies a pass on environmental compliance is saving the tax payers anything....and it isn't.....but it was the lame excuse they hung thier hat on. And most poeple will believe that without thinking about it. It will cost us 10 time as much later to clean up the mess after these companies go bankrupt to avoid the clean up costs.

The lobbyists are hard at work and this plant is going in no matter how much damage it will do to the environment.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

"How we are supposed to meet the electricity needs of our 21st century society--well let's worry about that later."

How are we suppose avoiding killing ourselves with your primitive technologies?-- clearly, you'd rather just worry about that after we're all dead.

frank mcguinness 7 years, 1 month ago

Tom Says: Funny too on a side-note how liberal journalists call any right-wing activist "extremist", but left-wing activist "activist".

Liberals would not normally kill someone they disagree with.

straightforward 7 years, 1 month ago

I would consider abortionists left-wing and they kill people for a living.

pace 7 years, 1 month ago

The coal plant is a bad buy for Kansas. In the next 20 years we will see more and more homes and businesses making their own way to electric power, solar, wind, etc. Simply put, the coal plant is dirty, if they have to pay for their real cost to Kansas air, soil, and water they will be expensive, if they don't pay for their real cost , they will be expensive.

Mark Kostner 7 years, 1 month ago

I thought the EPA already approved this plant. I remember the dispute was with the KDHE.

tunahelper 7 years, 1 month ago

the epa has no say in this, it is a KDHE matter. Plus with the US House controlled by the Republicans, the power plant will be built. Why don't you whiney leftists go crying to The Annointed One and have him rescue you? The American public is sick and tired of these enviro-whackos and their tree-hugging theology. The power plant will be built. Actually, it is already built, it just wants to be expanded.

Stephen Roberts 7 years, 1 month ago

Maybe the Sierra club can petition the EPA to regulate gas powered lawn mowers!!!!!!!!!!

Bill Griffith 7 years, 1 month ago

Actually, EPA has a very large say in it by law. EPA can strike down a permit if it feels the state authority who issued it failed to act appropriately.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

I, and millions of others, very much want the EPA to stick its nose into the idiocy behind this coal plant. Does that mean that the House won't attempt to defund it?

tolawdjk 7 years, 1 month ago

So let's say the House defunds EPA.

All that does is puts a big "I win" sign infront the environ groups.

The regulation would still be on the books. Sierra Club files a case, goes before a judge, and argues that the power plant operates without a valid permit addressing GHGs as required by regulation. The judge says "get a permit" except all the permitting issuing agencies are defunded. So the SC says "order them shut down as they cannot operate without a permit."

All it takes is one judge that agrees with that arguement.

straightforward 7 years, 1 month ago

Yet another violation of the 10th amendment. Who needs that pesky constitution anyway. It's old and outdated?

2002 7 years, 1 month ago

At one time, I considered myself an environmentalist. I was a member of the Sierra Club and similar groups. I still consider myself an environmentalist, but have cancelled my memberships in all similar groups. The reason is that these groups talk about sustainability and protecting the environment and good energy policy but have no solution except being against producing energy.

I am a giant fan of solar and wind power and I do believe that those sources are part of a solution, but for now clean coal and gas are necessary. Do you think that the Sierra Club and their hypocritical brothers are going to support a new hydroelectric plant or nuclear plant in Kansas or anywhere else? Or on a broad scale, will they support drilling for oil in ANWAR? No. The environmentalist of today would rather, by default, support fossil fuel production in other countries where it is less regulated, less environmentally sensitive and where its transportation damages the environment more than production closer to the source.

jafs 7 years, 1 month ago

I'm not sure why you believe that - to my knowledge, groups like the Sierra Club are interested in promoting alternative energy sources, although I imagine they're not great fans of nuclear energy.

But, conservation is something that can be done immediately by all of us, doesn't require any massive financial investment, and saves money to boot.

We can easily lower our usage without suffering much, if at all - our household uses significantly less than most, and we're quite comfortable, with CH/A, modern conveniences, etc.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

"I still consider myself an environmentalist,"

And judging by the rest of your post, you are deluding yourself.

booyalab 7 years, 1 month ago

Or communists. They are the true environmentalists. Because we all know how prudent the government is with our limited resources.

pace 7 years, 1 month ago

"clean coal " so you are claiming this coal plant is going to be clean? Even the backer can't claimed that. Some of the same people who are defunding the EPA are also claim the EPA will monitor and insure the plant will work within stated perimeters If the"expanded" plant is only going to use clean coal, don't they have to change the proposal? Have they changed the grade of coal, originally slated, or have they changed their emission controls. If not, your claim of a clean coal plant is false.

Chris Golledge 7 years, 1 month ago

"Clean Coal" = oxymoron originated by the coal producers who want to keep selling their product

Carbon capture and sequestration will never happen. The only reason coal is used so much now is that on a dollar input (not counting external costs) per kilowatt hour output basis it is the cheapest thing around. Well, that and some government subsidies. If you add in the cost of CCS, it will become more expensive than some of the alternatives. That's way these companies keep saying that they'll start doing it as soon as the figure out the technology, it the meantime, let us continue to build coal plants. Have to call BS on that one; the technology is not difficult. It's just that implementing and using it will drive their costs higher than their competitors in the alternatives market.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

Except that it's neither clean, nor safe, nor reliable, nor domestic, meaning that it's wholly inadequate.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

You're apparently blissful in your ignorance. Too bad it won't be just you who will eventually have to pick up the tab.

pace 7 years, 1 month ago

Where does wold creek ship their nuclear waste? Wasn't that a big problem at one time.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

The high-level waste is stored on-site, just as it is at nearly every nuke plant in the country.

One of the little "technical problems" that supporters of nukes like to pretend don't exist.

But in a 100,000 years or so, it'll be safe. I guess that's the basis of their "plan."

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