Several hundred rally outside Kansas Capitol against coal-plant legislation

Folks carrying signs at rally in opposition to two 700-megawatt coal-burning plants in southwest Kansas. Several hundred were at the Clean Energy Day event.

Scott Allegrucci, of the Great Plains Alliance for Clean Energy, speaks to several hundred people at Clean Energy Day rally outside the Capitol.

Emil Ramirez, representing United Steelworkers of Kansas City. Kan., speaks to the crowd that gathered to oppose the proposed coal-burning power plants in southwest Kansas.

? Several hundred people Thursday rallied outside the Capitol to oppose a bill that would allow construction of two 700-megawatt coal-burning power plants

“Global warming is real, and it’s time to do something about it,” Tom Thompson, a lobbyist for the Kansas chapter of the Sierra Club, said during the Clean Energy Day event.

Lawmakers have been fighting for two years over the coal-fired plants proposed to be built in southwest Kansas.

The Legislature has approved bills to build the plants, but Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has vetoed those attempts. Supporters have been unable to muster the two-thirds majority necessary to overturn the vetoes.

The latest bill now is in a House-Senate conference committee.

Some have theorized that supporters of the project will keep the bill in conference until Sebelius leaves Kansas as President Barack Obama’s nominee to be secretary of Health and Human Services. Then once Sebelius is gone, supporters think they will be able to overturn a veto.

But speakers at the rally urged lawmakers who are opposed to the plant to remain strong — and focus instead on renewable energy, such as Kansas wind power.

“It’s not drill, baby, drill. It’s blow, baby, blow,” said Kathie Moore, of the Reno County Wind Energy Task Force.

The rally featured speakers representing environmental, religious and labor organizations.