Coal Expansion in Kansas Receives a Boost

Helsingin Energia 1In what continues to be a disappointing view of how the world views the environment, Kansas lawmakers have overturned a 2007 decision rejecting a coal-fired power plant expansion in the state. Kansas Secretary of Health and Environment Rod Bremby rejected the expansion of Sunflower Electric Power Corp’s western power plant last year, citing health concerns associated with carbon dioxide emissions and global warming concerns.

This decision immediately caused outrage amongst Republicans who cried that by rejecting the plant it would stop the creation of jobs, and strip the area of needed energy that would help keep electricity rates in check.

The bill passed through the Kansas House with a 77-45 margin, which thankfully at least falls short of it being veto proof.

Sunflower Electric Power Corp wants to add two 700 megawatt units to their existing facility in western Kansas. Their decision to do this, followed by Bremby’s decision to overrule their ability, pushed Kansas to the forefront of a national discussion on coal-fired power plants and their impact upon the environment.

Environmental groups hoped that the decision would influence further states to follow in their steps. They are thus, naturally disappointed with the recent decision, though they hold on to hope that the bill will still be vetoed when it comes back out of committee. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, has pledged to veto the bill, but Republicans are hoping to rally enough votes to make the bill veto proof.

“It is very unfortunate that legislation like this was pushed through so quickly,” said Chris Cardinal, spokesman for Great Plains Alliance for Clean Energy. “We need to sit down and have a proper discussion about our energy policy in Kansas, and not be engaging in all this gamesmanship and political maneuvering.”

Photo Courtesy of Mikko Itälahti via Flickr

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