Kansas Legislative News - Kansas Chapter of Sierra Club
KLN No. 3
February 18, 2006
Charles M. Benjamin,
P.O. Box 1642, Lawrence, KS 66044
(785) 841-5902; 841-5922 fax; email@example.com
S.B. 361 would limit any person who participated in the public comment process regarding whether KDHE should issue an air pollution control permit, a variance to air permits, or renewal of air permits, to a judicial review of the final agency action only to the Kansas Court of Appeals. Under current law any pollution control permit issued by KDHE, related to water, landfill, and air pollution, must first be reviewed by the district court before being appealed to the Court of Appeals. This legislation was introduced by Sunflower Electric Power Corp. that has plans to expand its current 360 MW coal generating plant, called Holcomb I, by an additional 1800 MW (with 1200 MW going to Colorado) - making it one of the largest coal fired power plant complexes in the U.S.
The Kansas Chapter of Sierra Club is opposed to the proposed expansion of Sunflower's coal fired power plants, and other proposed new coal plants in Kansas, because air pollutants, including mercury, emitted from these power plants will be blown from southwest Kansas and be deposited in northeast Kansas. Sierra Club at all levels opposes more coal plants because coal plants contribute to global warming CO2 and air pollutants. Sierra Club in Kansas is also opposed to these coal plants because they compete with the development of wind powered electric production in western Kansas, eastern Colorado and eastern New Mexico - one of best regions in the world for wind energy production. Kansas utilities say that wind generated electricity is incompatible with coal fired generators. Sierra Club supports wind power over coal plants.
Sunflower's attorney told the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 7 that judicial review of air pollution permits, by those opposed to their new coal plants, would nullify KDHE's approval of Best Available Control Technologies (BACT) built Sunflower's air pollution control permits. Sunflower's attorney failed to tell Senators that Sunflower's concerns are contradicted by their own recent experience in the permitting of Holcomb 2 - one of their proposed new coal plants. KDHE issued an air pollution permit to Sunflower for Holcomb 2 on October 8, 2002. However, Sunflower did not proceed to build the plant. Sunflower asked for, and received, from KDHE two 18 month extensions of their air pollution permit, including extensions of their approved BACT. The fact is that Sunflower allowed their air pollution permit to expire on October 2005 - and it had nothing to do with judicial reviews of their air pollution permit from KDHE.
SB 361 will be voted on by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, February 21. The members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and their phone numbers (785-296-XXXX), are: John Vratil -7361, Terry Bruce -7300, Barbara Allen -7353, Les Donovan -7385, Phil Journey -7367, Kay O'Connor -7382, Derek Schmidt -2497, Dwayne Umbarger -7389, Greta Goodwin -7381, Don Betts -7387, David Haley -7376. If any of these senators represent you call their office, on Monday, 2/20, and leave a message asking them to vote NO on SB 361
SB 483 would require the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) to get permission from the legislature for any land purchases greater than 480 acres, would require the county commission in the county where such purchase would be located to hold an election upon submission of a protest petition and would require KDWP to pay property taxes on any land purchased for public parks. The bill also requires that if KDWP wants to dispose of land it first has to offer the land to the county commission or, if the county refuses to accept the donation, to offer the land for sale to the general public at public auction. This bill, sponsored by the Kansas Farm Bureau, is designed to discourage KDWP from acquiring more land for public parks. KDWP Secretary Mike Hayden and I testified against SB 483 at the February 18 hearing before the Senate Ways and Means Committee, pointing out that most Kansans now live in urban areas and are looking for opportunities to hike, camp, fish, etc. in Kansas - a state that ranks 49th in the nation in public lands available for such activities. The following Senators, with their phone numbers (785-296-XXXX), serve on the Senate Ways and Means Committee: Dwayne Umbarger - 7389; Jay Emler - 7354; Carolyn McGinn - 7377; Stephen Morris - 2419; Vicki Schmidt - 7374; Jean Schodorf - 7391; Mark Taddiken - 7371; Ruth Teichman - 7394; David Wyson - 7369; Jim Barone - 7370; Don Betts - 7387; Laura Kelly - 7365; Chris Steineger - 7375. If one of these Senators represents you call their office and leave a message asking them to vote NO on SB 483.
HB 2642 would enact the Kansas Energy Policy Act and establish the Energy Policy Advisory Group, appointed by the Governor, that would be composed of an energy economist, three representatives of businesses that consume fuel in the production of their products, three representatives of the energy consuming public, two representatives of agricultural interests, one representatives of energy conservation & efficiency interests, one representative of a refinery, an energy tax specialists, one environmental advocate, and two representatives of energy production, consumption, conservation or efficiency interests not otherwise represented. The advisory group's goals would be to: develop and update annual state energy plans; produce reports on short and long term public energy policies; coordinate energy consumption and production databases; determine energy infrastructure changes; review actions of other states; and recommend innovative energy production and conservation opportunities. $250,000 from the State General Fund would hire a full time executive director, two full time research staff, one full time clerical staff, purchase contractual services and provide travel expenses for board meetings. H.B. 2642, supported by Sierra Club, will be voted on by the entire Kansas House of Representatives the week of February 20. Contact your state representative and ask them to vote YES on H.B. 2642.
Go to http://maps.kansasgis.org/demograph/ims/myelect.cfm to locate your state representative.
Office phone numbers for state representatives are at: http://maps.kansasgis.org/demograph/ims/myelect.cfm.
E-mail addresses for state representatives are at: http://www.kslegislature.org/legsrv-house/searchHouse.do;jsessionid=D760C24C074BF0D9293465461DD97C0A
From: Charles Benjamin,
P.O. Box 1642,
Lawrence, Kansas 66044-8642