SW Kansas Coal Plant Approved

KSCB News - December 16, 2010 12:00 am

SW Kansas Coal Plant Approved

Kansas’ top environmental regulator has approved an air quality permit for a new coal-fired power plant in the southwest part of the state.

Kansas’ top environmental regulator has approved an air quality permit for a new coal-fired power plant in the southwest part of the state.

Acting Health and Environment Secretary John Mitchell announced his decision Thursday. It allows Hays-based Sunflower Electric Power Corp. to move forward with its $2.8 billion project outside Holcomb.

The utility and its supporters had hoped a permit would be issued before the end of the year, so the plant wouldn’t fall under federal regulations on greenhouse gases that take effect Jan. 2.

The project has bipartisan support among legislators, partly because they think it will help generate jobs. But environmentalists who strongly oppose the project have accused outgoing Gov. Mark Parkinson’s administration of rushing a decision.

GPACE Issues Statement in Response to KDHE Coal-Fired Power Plant Decision:

The following statement was issued today by Scott Allegrucci, executive director, Great Plains Alliance for Clean Energy, in response to the announcement that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has approved Sunflower Electric Power Corp. ??s permit for a new, coal-burning power plant near Holcomb, Kan.:

??Today ??s decision was a rush to judgment. KDHE clearly reviewed an exponential number of comments in a fraction of the time typically spent on similar processes in the past, and they did so under extraordinary political pressure.

??We expect that this decision will receive additional review on two fronts: From federal regulators responsible for ensuring that the permit review process was conducted properly and in a manner that protects human health and the environment; and from Kansas citizens who may turn to the courts to right this regulatory wrong.

??Kansans expect nothing less than excellence in the administration of state government and effective regulation of law. With this decision, the highest expectations and the best interests of Kansans were not well served.

??Already, more than 70% of our state ??s energy is from imported coal, and most of the energy this proposed plant will generate won ??t ever serve Kansans. We deeply regret that our state regulators have taken an action that benefits out-of-state special interests, and not the citizens of our state.

??Kansans, their children and grandchildren deserve the same stewardship of our natural resources as our forebears provided for us. We believe Kansas needs an energy policy that encourages employment and industrial advancement that relies on Kansas resources and the technology of the future, not the past. ?


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