Friday, February 1, 2008

Coal Plants in Kansas: Ashtray of the Midwest

Well, as everyone suspected, legislators in Kansas have taken up the gauntlet on behalf of Sunflower Electric Power Corp. to build a pair of new coal mines in Holcomb, KS (previous posts on this here and here). From the Lawrence Journal World:

Bills addressing the top environmental issue of the legislative session were written in secret by those who support construction of two coal-burning power plants in western Kansas.

Energy bills written in secret? No input from environmental groups or stakeholders outside of the companies that will be directly profiting? Doesn't this sound like a certain presidential administration's Energy Task Force?

The bill that has been written is being described by intelligent people as a poor excuse for a compromise between the coal industry and environmental concerns. Diane Silver (from In This Moment) quotes Gov. Sebelius's press release:

Under the current bill, any coal plant, from anywhere in the country, applying for a permit and meeting the very minimum standards established by the EPA would have to be given a permit. It wouldn’t matter whether Kansas needed the energy or not. All the coal plants that have been denied permits or withdrawn applications in other states would be knocking at our door.
As the Sierra Club's Bruce Nilles puts it, this would make Kansas the ashtray of the midwest:
“Kansas is the first state that we know that is proposing to accelerate global warming,” Nilles said. “That is a real black eye for Kansas to be the one state right now proposing to accelerate global warming.”
Ok, that's what is happening, but what does this all mean? Well, basically it means that the Kansas legislators are not interested in listening to the interests of Kansas citizens. Earlier polls have indicated Kansans are heavily opposed to the construction of the coal plants, so why do elected officials continue to push an idea that is clearly unpopular? The reason is, of course, money. These legislators are guided only by the unholy dollar. Anything that is perceived, real or imagined, to be financially beneficial is going to be ram-rodded through the legislature.

Kansans need to let the legislature know how they feel about this issue. Here is the website where you can find your state representatives. Send them a letter.

[Hat tip: In this Moment]

3 comments:

Konrad said...

As a guv'ment employee, can't you do anything about this? You work for the Man, you gotta have some connections, right?

Mike said...

Probably right on time:

http://thinkprogress.org/2008/02/20/coal-bribes-kansas/

crystal said...

A Kansas state regulator denied permits to build two new coal-fired thermoelectric power plants based on their carbon emmisions. The Kansas legislature passed a bill allowing the plants to go forward, then late last week the Kansas Governor vetoed the bill and halting the project. The struggle over the $3.6 billion project, proposed for a remote town in western Kansas, has become a symbol of the uncertainty over coal's future, caught between rising fears about climate change and powerful coal and utility interests.
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