Letters (Week of Oct. 24, 2007)

Kansas leads the way to protect air quality


The Friday, Oct. 19, issue of the Washington Post had a front page story titled, ?Power Plant Rejected Over Carbon Dioxide For First Time.?

The story detailed the Thursday announcement by Kansas Department of Health and Environment denying the air permit for Sunflower Electric Power to construct two 700-megawatt coal plants at Holcomb.

KDHE became the first government agency in the United States to cite carbon dioxide emissions as the reason for rejecting an air permit for a proposed coal-fired electricity generating plant, saying that the greenhouse gas threatens public health and the environment.

With this decision, Kansas has become a leader in recognizing and acting on the science that has identified the massive amounts of CO2 emissions from coal-fired plants as a contributor to global warming.

Legislative supporters of the coal plants had written an open letter to KDHE pressuring it to grant the permit some weeks back. Rep. Don Dahl is a part of that group.

State lawmakers could attempt to overrule KDHE or ensure that the decision doesn?t become precedent.

Sen. Phil Journey, a coal plant supporter, was quoted in the Wichita Eagle as saying, ?The Legislature could simply eliminate KDHE. There ae a lot of things the Legislature could do. There are a lot of creative minds in the Legislature.?

Maybe the creative minds of the Legislature should concentrate on recognizing the science behind global warming and the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court defining CO2 emissions as an environmental hazard that should be regulated.

Some legislators seem to be confused as to whether they are in Topeka to serve and protect the people of Kansas or the interests of the lobbyists of the large utilities.

A better plan for the Legislature would be to pass a Renewable Portfolio Standard that would require a set percentage of renewable energy be purchased by Kansas electric power generators thus stimulating the development of community owned wind power.

Harry E. Bennett

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