Archive for Thursday, November 3, 2011

Environmental Protection Agency says KDHE lied in coal argument

November 3, 2011


— An Environmental Protection Agency official has accused lawyers representing a Kansas agency of lying to the state Supreme Court about support for a permit that would allow a $2.8 billion coal-fired power plant to be built in southwest Kansas.

In a letter this week to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, EPA Region 7 administrator Karl Brooks took issue with KDHE claims in written arguments to the Supreme Court last month that the EPA didn’t have a problem with the permit for construction of the Sunflower plant near Holcomb.

“EPA has no substantial objection to the issuance of the construction permit,” attorneys for KDHE wrote.

Brooks’ letter said, “Kansas incorrectly informed the court” that EPA did not object.

The Sierra Club and Earthjustice have filed a lawsuit seeking to block construction of the power plant, which has been the subject of a six-year battle between supporters who say the plant is needed and environmentalists who believe the coal-fired plant will create harmful greenhouse gases.

Lawyers for the two groups argued in a filing with the court that the state permit issued by KDHE to Sunflower Electric Power Corp. did not comply with the Clean Air Act.

The brief claims the permit does not include enforceable limits on nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide pollution, failed to follow requirements to consider use of best available control technology and denied the public a fair opportunity to participate in the agency’s evaluation.

The state says the pollution levels it allowed in a permit for the plant are safe for humans, but the Sierra Club said in its lawsuit that those levels aren’t safe.

The Kansas City Star reported Wednesday that the EPA says it has voiced its opposition to the permit in letters and discussions over the past two years.

Brooks’ letter said KDHE failed to tell the Supreme Court that it had received three letters from the EPA saying the permit was not strict enough.

Both KDHE and Sunflower Electric declined to comment on the issue. The EPA said Brooks’ letter speaks for itself.

The Sierra Club said it plans to make a big deal out of the inaccurate Kansas statement when it files its own arguments with the court.

“EPA has consistently told the state that the permit needed more stringent limits on certain pollutants,” Stephanie Cole, spokeswoman for the Sierra Club, told The Star in an interview. “KDHE not only ignored EPA’s request to amend the permit to include the more stringent limits, but now KDHE is actually attempting to mischaracterize EPA’s position to the court.”

The project has been the center of political and legal disputes since 2006. Supporters of the project say the plant will bring crucial jobs and economic development to western Kansas. Opponents contend the plant will pollute, draw down water reserves and provide electricity that isn’t needed in Kansas. Colorado residents will receive much of the electricity.


diddleband 2 years, 5 months ago

Many have been pushing to build this possibly crucial power plant for 6 years. It will be built in Southwest Kansas and will bring more power to Colorado. The problem is when KDHE lied to the EPA and now the EPA is taking KDHE to court. The contract isn’t refined enough from an environmental health point and lying about pollutants doesn’t help. I think that this Coal plant needs to be built, but the permit needs to be redone so it is environmentally correct. This will help bring more power to Colorado and more jobs to Southwest Kansas, so in the long run the pluses outweigh the minuses. Hopefully the plant will be built in the next few years.


Stuart Sweeney 2 years, 5 months ago

I find it interesting we fought a water battle for years with Colorado. It was determined they were taking to much water from the Arkansas River. We finally get the water we need--what do we do? Use it to generate steam to make electricity and sell it to Colorado. I guess we did not need the water for our uses???


blindrabbit 2 years, 5 months ago

Obviously all this lying occurred after Demby left KDHE. This position was no-doubt supported by Smilin Sam, the Chamber of Commerce, Utility Industry and the Koch-a Kolas.


gccs14r 2 years, 5 months ago

A little conservation would go a long way. People waste a tremendous amount of power in this country and don't even realize they're doing it.


Les Blevins 2 years, 5 months ago

We could be producing our own oil at 3,000 locations all across America and doing so fairly soon if Lawrence and Douglas County and KU would willingly participate. There are 3,000 counties in the U.S. that could be using technology developed here thats been designed for county and community scale distributed energy production. More info is available for those who request it by email to with "more info" in the subject line.


FalseHopeNoChange 2 years, 5 months ago

Big deal. Coal pfffssst

Check this Greenie crap out.

(from a source)

PG&E BEGINS REMOVING 'SMART' METERS DUE TO HEALTH EFFECTS ... Widening Call for Immediate Return of Analogs; Disconnection of "Mesh" Wireless Network. SANTA CRUZ, CA—Just as PG&E enters the final phase of its deployment of wireless "smart" meters in California, the largest of the state's Investor Owned Utilities (IOU's) has reversed course, quietly beginning to replace the 'smart' meters of those reporting health impacts with the old trusty analog version. Consumer rights and health groups immediately seized on the news, demanding that millions of Californians unhappy with their new wireless meters get their analogs returned immediately at no cost. 'Smart' meters are new wireless utility meters being installed as part of the "smart" grid initiative, spearheaded by technology firms and backed by the Obama administration and the Department of Energy. Promises ranging from lower utility bills to enhanced renewable generation capacity have failed to materialize, with widespread reports of higher bills, privacy violations, fires and explosions, and commonly reported health impacts such as headaches, nausea, tinnitus, and heart problems associated with powerful wireless transmissions. – Press release from


Les Blevins 2 years, 5 months ago

We all know we need power and we know that coal combustion is disrupting the environment and the climate but we don’t all know there is another and better way to satisfy our power needs and power demands. Yet the administration in Topeka and the City of Lawrence and the Journal World and those we depend on at KU to research solutions steadfastly refuse to even consider it. It’s called community energy and community energy means county and community generation and that means generating our own energy and that means not having to build more dirty or dangerous coal or nuclear powered central power plants and it also means local jobs and not having to pay for landfilling municipal trash.

One county understands it and the intend to build their own waste-to-energy plant

Ada County Idaho is expected to break ground this spring on a $60 million waste-to-energy facility. The county´s Board of Commissioners approved a five-year agreement with Eagle, Idaho-based Dynamis Energy on Nov. 1, the Idaho Statesman reported. The plant is expected to go online about a year after construction begins, but if Dynamis misses the late spring 2013 deadline, the newspaper said, either party can terminate the agreement after six months. Once operational, the county will divert at least 408 tons of waste daily from its landfill to the facility. The plant will sell electricity produced through its gasification process to Idaho Power, the newspaper said. Ada County is landfilling about 1,200 tons of trash every day and has spent $18 million on a recent landfill expansion, the paper reported. For more on this contact Waste & Recycling News reporter Shawn Wright at or 313-446-0346.

I hope this is a trend that catches on across the entire nation because my company has technology to empower this sort of 21st Century innovation in energy and environmental protection and economic development. Ask Aron Cromwell why he can sell his technology here in Douglas County and yet won't consider other what other entrepreneurs have to offer. Les Blevins, President and CEO Advanced Alternative Energy Corporation. For more info on AAEC’s fuels conversion technology call 785-842-1943 or write; LBlevins


Milton Bland 2 years, 5 months ago

I have had dealings with Region 7 EPA and KDHE. Both offices are packed with folks in bed with the Sierra Club and other extreme "environmental" groups. At one point I asked the question what consitituted a reportable spill. The answer was any more than two molecules should be reported. During the Sebelius reign, it was a given that there would be no permits issued in the state, period. Unfortunately no permit was required for the governor's son to produce meth in the governor's mansion. I was very anxious to see Sebelius out of office. But I should have been more careful of my wish, as she now in charge of my health care. And is that ever screwed up.


Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 5 months ago

The environmental terrorists are well at work with their devious chicanery again and when the lights go out, no matter where, there will be retribution. These wacko extremists are out to have their goofy notions verified and are not the least bit concerned about the havoc that their stupid notions and invalid conclusions will have on the society.. But no matter, by then, the Red Chinese will have bought every politician in Washington and it will little matter. I heard on the radio this morning that the Chinese are "awash in cash" and have plenty of reserves to purchase themselves most of the country. Have you bought your Mandirin Chinese Language Course yet? Better hurry, there will be a mob rush when the awful truth is finally recognized by our decaying and dying society.


kernal 2 years, 5 months ago

There's a rat scurrying around this project and it needs to be ferreted out.


yourworstnightmare 2 years, 5 months ago

I suppose it is better to build a coal fired plant in the middle of nowhere than it is to build it near a city or a lake.

Are we surprised that the KDHE lied? The don't have facts and science on their side, so they must lie to ensure that the economic interests of their patrons are upheld.


Getaroom 2 years, 5 months ago

it"s_just_math: A lie is lie mathie and as bozo says there was no Carol Browner in this formula. Better get back to your studies. I bet you can buy one of those new DVR's being produced sold by the GOP that filters out "liberals" and "far lefties".

And this from the one note guy who figures Cain is an alright guy and likes him? But that's the way it goes I suppose. ...._math never truly mounts an argument, but rather drones on about "the far left" and "liberals". But that's they way it goes I suppose. He seems to also believe it was OK for the greedy Wall Street "free Marketeers"(i.e. criminals) to steal money from all of us and get of scott free. Loves his coal too, but maybe he has an alternative fuel up his sleevies - lots of money to burn! He doesn't like all that public "occupy.." display of collective frustration either - makes him uncomfortable and his remote can't shut all those dead beat "liberals" up. In the world of "it's_just_math" there is one way to think and it's a perfect world of Black and White thought. Well, maybe that is inaccurate, more like, an all White world. One devoid of differences.


edjayhawk 2 years, 5 months ago

Another example of the Far-Right wanting to end all regulations. Oh wait, they say they can create jobs without regulations. Hard for people to work when they are sick or dead.


rtwngr 2 years, 5 months ago

There is no such thing as man made global warming.


edjayhawk 2 years, 5 months ago

Further example of the Far-Right Republicans wanting to get rid of all regulations.


worthlessljworldposter 2 years, 5 months ago

Yes, let us hear more about how the government agency lied to get an earth-killing coal plant built. Killing the poor's not enough for the bloodsucking teabagger. Let's kill the planet so your children you care nothing about get to deal with it!


its_just_math 2 years, 5 months ago

Hmm, didn't hear much about Carol Browner cherry-picking her data to support her far-left environmental views. But that's the way it goes I suppose.


distant_voice 2 years, 5 months ago

The members of the Sierra Club and Earthjustice, like the rest of us, aren't quite ready to give up their use of electricity. Now in violent oppostion to the generation of electricity through either coal or nuclear production, the only alternative these groups have laid on the table is covering every field and hill in Kansas with wind turbines. I don't like coal fired plants more than anyone else, but no one has put any viable alternatives on the table. Unless we all volunteer to give up our TVs and go back to oil and kerosene lamps, we have to do someting.


Kookamooka 2 years, 5 months ago

The State is "off the chain!" They don't care about the citizenry, just the businesses and their bottom line. I presume all of the artists they are bankrupting will take jobs at a coal power plant?


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