Kansas Rejects Massive Sunflower Coal-Fired Power Plant


State takes lead in national trend against dirty energy sources


Nick Persampieri, Earthjustice, (303) 623-9617
Bruce Nilles, Sierra Club, (608) 257-4994

Supported by a majority of Kansans, state regulators today denied an air permit for the proposed Sunflower coal-fired power plant, making Kansas a leader in the surge of states rejecting coal power because of its massive contribution to global warming.

“Today, Kansas embraced a bright, clean energy future powered by new technologies that will breathe life into our economy, and took a giant first step toward protecting our children and grandchildren from the devastating impacts of global warming,” said Nick Persampieri, attorney for Earthjustice, which represents the Sierra Club in opposing the plant.

“The rest of the nation should follow the lead of Kansas and the handful of other states that have rejected plans for new dirty coal plants,” he said.

Today’s decision makes Sunflower the latest coal-fired power plant, among more than 60 nationwide, held up or denied this year because of environmental concerns, Persampieri said, referring to a report just released by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The rejection of Sunflower also reflects the majority opinion of Kansas citizens polled recently by the Natural Gas Institute, showing 51 percent are opposed to the Sunflower plant.

The permit was rejected by Roderick L. Bremby, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), on the basis of potential public health and environmental harms from plant pollution.

“I believe it would be irresponsible to ignore emerging information about the contribution of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to climate change and the potential harm to our environment and health if we do nothing,” said Bremby.

The plant, planned near Holcomb, would have mostly served out-of-state customers while emitting more than 10 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution a year. The pollution would have made it one of the three largest new sources of global warming pollution in the United States.

“This decision clears the way for a bright, clean energy future in Kansas and across the Midwest,” said Bruce Nilles, Director of the Sierra Club’s National Coal Campaign. “The Holcomb plant would have locked the state into another 50 years of dirty, polluting coal energy and eliminated the market for the renewable forms of energy that are the future. Kansas, and particularly West Kansas, is now perfectly positioned to develop its abundant clean energy resources, help solve global warming, and create thousands of new family-supporting jobs.”

Read the Kansas State Department of Health and Environment press release

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