Muckraker: Grist on Politics

The Kansas legislature is once again attempting to pass a bill to get two new coal-fired power plants built in the southwestern part of the state, an attempt to override state environmental officials.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has gone head to head with Sunflower Electric Power and the legislature on this issue. The battle began in October 2007 when a state environment official rejected Sunflower’s request for a permit to build the two 700-megawatt, coal-fired power generators, citing concern over their carbon dioxide emissions. The legislature passed three bills attempting to override the state’s environmental officials. Sebelius vetoed all three bills, but the matter still hasn’t died.

Sebelius wrote an op-ed on Jan. 25 promoting her renewable energy plan for the state, and a new GreenWorks Advisory Council that’s meant to help bring green jobs to the state. While she didn’t reference the ongoing Sunflower battle directly, she did have some choice words for coal:

In Kansas, our energy portfolio is unbalanced and too dependent on coal. While the nation receives only half of its energy from coal, in Kansas it is 75 percent. This makes us 10th in the nation in per capita carbon dioxide emissions, and extremely vulnerable to the costs and penalties of imminent federal regulation.

There is a major challenge facing America, and it provides us opportunities for a “made in America” energy program that is good for our economy, good for our national security and good for our environment. Kansas is uniquely suited to be a leader in the green energy future.

Together, we can unlock the infinite potential of clean energy that will positively impact generations to come.