Share this Post:

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

New Wrinkle In Sunflower Coal Story: We "Own" The Loan


    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Related Blog Entries

by Terry Winckler:
Kansas Allows Controversial Coal-Fired Power Plant

Three years ago, Kansas became the poster child of the nation's clean energy movement, thanks to a pair of stalwart political leaders who refused...

by Terry Winckler:
Kansas Keeps Getting In The Way of Big Coal

After four years of trying, Big Coal’s national ambitions have again bogged down at the Kansas state line.  A federal judge this week agre...

by Brian Smith:
Will Sunflower Be Cleanest Coal-Fired Power Plant?

A study released today by MSB Energy Associates calls into question claims that the new Sunflower coal-fired power plant expansion near Holcomb, Kansa...

Earthjustice on Twitter

View Terry Winckler's blog posts
03 August 2009, 2:02 PM
Government has right to force environmental review, says legal action

A troublesome new chapter has opened in the matter of Sunflower Electric's attempt to more than double the electrical output at its existing coal-fired plant in Holcomb, Kansas.

After digging through 10,000 pages of documents, Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman discovered that Sunflower in the past had defaulted on its debt service payments to the federal government, and that as a consequence the federal government now has effective oversight over Sunflower's business decisions, including the attempted expansion of its existing plant.

That means that you and I and all other American taxpayers have a major stake in how that plant performs, financially and environmentally. We have long known that the expansion was a thoroughly bad idea because of the enormous amounts of greenhouse gases it would produce for decades. The revelation of Sunflower's indebtedness to the public could be a key to stopping the expansion.

On Friday, based on those findings, Jan asked a federal court to prevent the government and Sunflower from moving forward with the expansion project until the government has taken a hard look at the environmental harm that the new coal plant will cause. His reasoning is pretty clear: since the federal government has oversight authority, acquired as a condition for forgiving earlier bad debts of the coal plant, it must abide by federal law which requires a full environmental review of any federal action likely to have a significant impact.

The lawsuit demands that the government financing agency, known as the Rural Utilities Service, perform a proper analysis of how the expansion will affect the environment. We're limited in what we can do about the existing plant's dirty output of particulate and greenhouse gas emissions, but this legal action gives us the chance to keep it from procreating.

Earthjustice has been fighting the expansion vigorously for two years through legal and public opinion efforts. We supported then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius against legislative attempts to force the expansion on an unwilling public, and we continue to stand with the embattled Rod Bremby, head of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, who is being pressured by the current governor to approve the plant permit.

Another reason to feel optimistic about stopping Sunflower is how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently stepped in to make the plant expansion permit process more public. The EPA stopped a permit process, reached in private between Sunflower and Gov. Mark Parkinson when he took office. More than 1,300 Earthjustice supporters signed a petition thanking the EPA for this action.

Read here for another take on the latest Sunflower debt revelations.

Please stop heating up the planet and cutting up habitats.
There are species here to keep the planet intact.
We need to focus on water and desalination in the right location.

Jodi

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <p> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.