Friday, October 19, 2007

Not in Kansas Anymore

If you're building a big carbon dioxide-producing coal plant, you're not in Kansas anymore. For the first time, a power plant was rejected because of Carbon Dioxide emissions, according to an AP story that appeared in the Washington Post (excerpted below.)
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment yesterday became the first government agency in the United States to cite carbon dioxide emissions as the reason for rejecting an air permit for a proposed coal-fired electricity generating plant, saying that the greenhouse gas threatens public health and the environment.
The decision marks a victory for environmental groups that are fighting proposals for new coal-fired plants around the country. It may be the first of a series of similar state actions inspired by a Supreme Court decision in April that asserted that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide should be considered pollutants under the Clean Air Act.

Sunflower Electric Power already operates a coal-fired power plant in Holcomb and had proposed to build two more units. In the past, air permits, which are required before construction of combustion facilities, have been denied over emissions such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury. But Roderick L. Bremby, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said yesterday that "it would be irresponsible to ignore emerging information about the contribution of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to climate change and the potential harm to our environment and health if we do nothing."
Kansas agency's decision caps a controversy over a proposal by Sunflower Electric Power, a rural electrical cooperative, to build a pair of big, 700-megawatt, coal-fired plants in Holcomb, a town in the western part of the state, at a cost of about $3.6 billion. One unit would have supplied power to parts of Kansas; the other, to be owned by another rural co-op, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, would have provided electricity to fast-growing eastern Colorado.
Together the plants would have produced 11 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, nearly as much as a group of eight Northeastern states hope to save by 2020 through a mandatory cap-and-trade program they plan to impose. The attorneys general from those states had written a letter opposing the permit.
The proposed Holcomb plants had become the center of a political dispute in Kansas, inflaming traditional tensions between the eastern and western parts of the state, dividing labor unions and posing a test for the energy policies of Gov.
Kathleen Sebelius, who is head of the Democratic Governors Association and is believed to harbor aspirations for federal office.
Kansas, long a conservative Republican stronghold, is not generally considered to be on the leading edge of environmental causes. The
GOP leadership in both the state Senate and House of Representatives endorsed the project. Although the regional United Steelworkers union opposed the plant, the state AFL-CIO supported it.

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 25 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at discounts on energy saving products at

No comments: