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unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Kansas Allows Controversial Coal-Fired Power Plant

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16 December 2010, 1:13 PM
A bitter climax to three-year fight over major pollution producer

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 to approve a coal-fired power plant that would have increased America's global warming gas emissions by millions of tons each year.

Today, in the absence of those strong leaders, Sunflower Electric Co. finally got state permission to build its pollution producer. Under a new administrator, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment granted the permit after department workers spent nights and weekends processing the permit, presumably so they could beat a deadline that would have forced the new plant to meet stringent pollution standards kicking in Jan. 2.

The permit likely would not have been issued if former KDHE chief Rod Bremby hadn't been forced out a few weeks ago after refusing since 2007 to allow the permit. Supported by then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Bremby disallowed the permit because of its global warming gases output. It was the nation's first such permit rejection. But, Sebelius eventually left to join President Obama's cabinet, leaving Bremby to fight the good fight in the face of highly politicized, industry-friendly opposition. Earthjustice had a strong hand in that fight.

Not all is lost, however—not by a long shot. The Environmental Protection Agency last month warned that it is taking a careful look at the whole permit process. Here's what a top EPA official wrote:

If KDHE recommends Sunflower be permitted before Jan. 2, EPA will review this initial decision...That's why EPA must scrutinize not just the language of any Sunflower permit, but the whole state decision-making process that produced a permit.

And, as the EPA watches Sunflower, Earthjustice is observing the EPA. As Earthjustice attorney Amanda Goodin said:

If the EPA blinks—and it certainly shouldn't—the Clean Air Act allows the people of Kansas legal redress to ensure the Act's full enforcement.


If the EPA "blinks" and the permit is approved I hope Earthjustice will move ahead quickly and sue the state of Kansas to stop it immediately. Nothing would give me greater pleasure or sense of satisfaction than to know that my year-end contribution to Earthjustice was put to use in court protecting the air we all breathe.
If the permit goes through, PLEASE go after them! Please....

Kansas just elected a governor who doesn't believe in climate change science and belongs to "The Family" (from D.C.); how much of a chance do we have to change this ruling w/o EPA's help? Our new Secretary of State helped with AZ's anti-immigrant law and wants to incorporate it here plus change our voting process with the cry of "voting irregularities." Our new Attor. General wants KS to drop-out of the health care plan while he sues Obama ... we're another microcosm of a red state phenomenon. I don't believe Kansans are ignorant but I agree with Thomas Frank's appraisal in his book, "What's the matter with Kansas?" which applies to other states, too - not just Kansas, the reason people vote against their own best interest is they've been manipulated by the Republicans into thinking the Republicans are like them/Kansans/citizens, which is ... Christians, anti-gay, pro-gun/1st Amendment, NRA lovers, anti-abortion/anti-choice and think they're apart of the party of the rich and powerful.

I would hope, if presented with alternative energy programs/jobs/economic stability (i.e. windmill farms/solar arrays), which would/could (?) bring in the same profits as a dirty, cancer-causing, pollution polluting coal plant, SW Kansans would chose a healthy environment.

But, my guess .... EarthJustice and others have already thought about this and tried it.



Tell Kansas They can have their coal plant, they just have to keep their pollution in Kansas! Another way might be for neighboring states to have a cross boarder toll.

For more complete version:

I to have no lost love for the Military but have recently been advocating the “We All Win War” or WAWW. For starters we give the rich their tax break but with a string attached. They must invest an equal amount in the Green Awakening Economy to qualify. That money is not given to Congress or the President or Wall Street. It is given to a NEW Green Branch of the of the military with War Time Powers. Labor costs for mitigation become slashed because the largest Civil costs on a project is labor. Within the Military framework our labor costs would approach that of China. We get to train the youth in meaningful jobs, give them a grub stake, get them healthy, clean their system of street drugs, get the non-violent out of prisons, perhaps even a few of the violent ones. No Post Traumatic Syndrome for the retiring. (I have to assume that charged with doing good and saving the future of humanity will leave a good taste in their brains.) The Rich on the other hand will have TANGIBLE ASSETS at a Fraction of the cost of Corporate fingers in the pie. The Nation will not be adding as much to the deficit as we will be building renewable energy to start the healing process. In time and Gentle persuasion, (rummer has it that Water Boarding is cool) the rich will be able to be assimilated. We might even buy enough time to let them die Naturally! Forgot to mention. Denial or misleading contrary unsubstantiated statements are now Treasonable offenses.
It is a WAR of Survival!
Our Past is now the Enemy of our Future…

I concur. While all deniers are "free to speak" today because liberals in the Continental Congress and other brave past and current souls insisted upon it, when deniers deliberately lie about scientific facts essentially for political and personal gain they should be prosecuted to the fullest ethical extent possible here on Earth BEFORE they get to face their maker at the Pearly Gates; one they so avow supports their lies. Wow! THAT would be revolutionary! And sooo needed right now to salvage what very little is left of real Christian ethics (NOT as promulgated by most formalized religions - there's a vast difference between ethical Christian philosophy and practice for the majority). One does not have to be "Born Again" to understand simple Christianity supports all of the huddle masses, not just the Pay for Play supporters of the Righteous Right &/or Repugnuts!. Well, they ALL need all the Hail Mary's they can get, but I can only wish them the best of luck as they'll need a whole lot more than that when knocking at the Gates.

Truthfully, they should all burn in Hell! OK, we must forgive them. But, still, it's the least we can hope for.

I think that sounds like a plan how come this has not been put forward before we do have a lot of brain power out there do we not? it is so very foolish to allow sunflower or any other entity to move forward we all know by now how unhealty coal burning is.

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