Topeka 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.