Kansas Coal Plant Controversy Mounting
Submitted by amyguinan on November 5, 2010 – 10:05am
“As goes Kansas, so goes the Nation” – and Kansas is taking on coal.
In 2007, Kansas Environmental Chief Roderick Bremby drew the attention of the nation as the first state regulator to use greenhouse gas emissions as a reason to reject an air quality permit to build the proposed Sunflower coal plant in western Kansas. He declared carbon dioxide emissions from the proposed plant would be a public and environmental health risk and noted the risks of global warming. The Legislature later changed the laws, allowing the coal plant to proceed.
After Bremby denied the permits, Sunflower launched a legal and legislative battle. The state legislature voted to allow the new plants, and Governor Sebelius – who has since become Obama’s U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services – vetoed the bill three times.
On Nov 2nd, as midterm elections dominated the news, Kansas’ newest Governor, Mark Parkinson, fired Bremby. And Sunflower Electric Power Corporation is back again with a deadline looming. In January of 2011, new federal rules on greenhouse gas emissions begin to take effect. If Sunflower receives a state air-quality permit before that date, its propsed plant will be grandfathered under the current standards.
“It was a midnight execution,” says NRDC senior advocate Theo Spencer. “When everybody’s eyes were on the election, the governor fires the guy who was responsible for protecting public health and the environment so he can ram this power plant through against public opinion.”
Scott Allegrucci, director of the Great Plains Alliance for Clean Energy (GPACE), says “there isn’t anyone in the state who doesn’t know what this was about.” He’s certain Bremby was removed to clear the way for someone willing to expedite the air permit for Sunflower’s proposed 895-megawatt coal plant in western Kansas and allow it to avoid the looming EPA rules.
For more information, visit: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2008/may/17/sebelius_vetoes_third_bill_allowing_coalfired_plan/