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January 18, 2008

Kansas Coal Proponents Try New Strategy for Power Plant

First, they became involved in the only American case, thus far, of a coal-fired power plant being denied a permit based upon the negative impact of its carbon dioxide emissions. Then they cried foul and filed a lawsuit. Right around the same time, they produced a series of ads with Peabody Coal suggesting that Kansas legislators were playing into the hands of people like Russian President Vladimir Putin, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Now, according to a report in DeSmogBlog, Sunflower Electric has joined forces with the several other co-ops, the Kansas Farm Bureau, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO among others, to form a group that seems poised to fight the state of Kansas' October decision to deny the permit of two coal-fired electricity generators. And apparently the group's flashy new website is registered directly to Sunflower Electric Power Corporation.

According to the website:

The Alliance for Sound Energy Policy is a statewide, non-partisan organization committed to balancing our growing energy needs with environmental stewardship while encouraging the development of a comprehensive energy strategy that provides an affordable, reliable, and diverse energy portfolio for Kansas' future."

But a quick run through of the website content and the organization's list of members reveals a severe shortage of those who might be called "environmental stewards." Members on that list are:

  • Central & Western Kansas Building & Construction Trades Council
  • Finney County Board of Commissioners
  • Kansas AFL-CIO
  • Kansas Chamber of Commerce
  • Kansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc.
  • Kansas Farm Bureau
  • Kansas IBEW Local 304
  • Lane-Scott Electric Cooperative, Inc.
  • Midwest Energy Inc.
  • Pioneer Electric Cooperative, Inc.
  • Prairie Land Electric Cooperative, Inc.
  • Sunflower Electric Power Corporation
  • Victory Electric Cooperative Association, Inc.
  • Western Cooperative Electric Association, Inc.
  • Wheatland Electric Cooperative, Inc.

If the above list doesn't do much to ease your concerns about the ecopolitics of the new organization, perhaps a snippet from their recent press release will:

"The diversity of our coalition makes the Alliance for Sound Energy Policy a credible voice in the debate over balancing our growing electricity demand with our need to protect the environment."
Oh, now I get it. Simply saying that you are diverse, means that you are diverse. I feel much better now [note sarcasm].

Photo: Courtesy of simplerich via flickr


SantaFeKate said...

You're turning into such a muckraker.....Well done!

hzclimate said...

I'm so glad to see folks picking up on this story...! Hopefully our local Kansas media will become interested as well.

What you might not know yet - the state ethics commission just designated Chesapeake/ Know Your Power as a lobbying group, and then forced them to reveal their spending. It is an interesting question whether anyone will investigate whether Sunflower/ Alliance for Sound Energy on similar grounds.

thanks for tracking this story - we really appreciate it.

Maril Hazlett

Tim Hurst said...

And thank you shedding light on it as well. Many Coloradoans are tracking this story because Tri-State G&T sells power to all of the state's co-ops (as well as most of the co-ops in NM and WY, and a few in NE) and they are having trouble finding a place that will allow a new coal plant. They know they can't do it in CO, so they tried Kansas. And thanks to you all, they were denied there too!