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Power Plant Rejected Over Carbon Dioxide For First Time

Washington Post – October 19, 2007

This is the first time in the US that a power plant was rejected due to concerns regarding its output of carbon dioxide as a pollutant. I don’t understand all of the laws in this area but I suspect that this decision would not have been possible had the Supreme Court not ruled that CO2 was a pollutant.

I am not going to make a lot of comments on this article except to ask two questions that are not adequately answered in this article:

  1. If the energy from this plant was needed for the development of the Kansas infrastructure, what is the State of Kansas doing to reduce its need so that this infrastructure investment was not necessary? My concern is that they will simply buy the energy from another state (utility) and thereby not be changing the amount of CO2 that is released.
  2. If the energy is needed by Kansas, will they approve the building of a non-CO2 polluting energy facility such as nuclear?

While certainly Kansas has the right to regulate their power plants, they also have the responsibility to adequately provide for the power needs of their citizens.  I hope that the leaders of the great State of Kansas are adequately planning for the future.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment … 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 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.


Tri-State and Sunflower spokesmen sharply criticized the decision and said they were examining their legal options. Bremby’s decision “has no basis in law or regulation,” said Steve Miller, a Sunflower spokesman. “We still believe fiercely that this is the right project, that this is the right thing to do for customers and that the secretary has made a horrible error.”


The plants’ powerful supporters included the speaker of the state House, Melvin Neufeld, who had earlier gathered the signatures of 46 GOP members, including key committee chairmen, for a letter to Bremby. The letter said, “Without your approval of the permit as proposed by Sunflower, our state and its citizens will lose access to the low-cost energy source and millions in economic development.” Thirty-one Republican House members declined to sign the letter.

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