We have just learned that Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius will appear June 26 in downtown Denver at an Earthjustice program to tell the story of how her bruising fight with coal power interests has helped create a national clean energy agenda. Seating is limited for the breakfast presentation, and reservations are recommended.
The governor rose to national prominence in the last year largely because of her unwavering stance on clean energy alternatives. As a result, Kansas—which gets 75 percent of its electricity from coal—is actually leading the nation away from dependence on coal and towards a mixed palette of sustainable, clean energy sources.
Sebelius' showdown over energy began last October when she drew a line in the plains and refused to let an existing coal plant expand and put out an extra 11 millions tons of C02 per year. It's time for alternatives like wind, she said, creating an instant political firestorm that nearly scuttled her political career.
Eight months later, she has prevailed, not just in her home state but on a national level. Whether humble or elite, folks respect how she staked out and defended a position based on pnnciple and practicality.
In essence, Sebelius demanded that Kansas become part of the climate change solution even as the president keeps our natonal head in the sand. She insisted, among other things, that Kansas' infamous winds be harnessed as a primary alternative to coal. In the long run, she demonstrated, the world's skies would be cleaner and Kansans' pockets would be fuller
Sebelius also launched in her own state and joined with other governors in developing initiatives to reduce energy consumption through efficiency and conservation, embrace non-petroleum fuels, and create incentives to develop clean energy technologies. Those initiatives have become part of each presidential candidate's platform and undoubtedly will emerge in the environmental public policies of the next administration.