The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Amanda Goodin, Earthjustice, (206) 343.7340, ext. 20
Todd True, Earthjustice, (206) 343-7340 , ext. 30
Stephanie Cole, Sierra Club, (402) 984-1122

Proposed Kansas Coal Plant Draws Warning Letter

Groups advise outdated permit needs replacing


Earthjustice and Sierra Club sent a letter to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment today requesting the public be given opportunity to comment on a new permit for an 895 MW coal-fired power plant Sunflower Electric seeks to construct in Western Kansas.

The letter comes after Governor Parkinson and Sunflower Electric entered into a private agreement last month, which seeks to circumvent the public and the law by guaranteeing the power company a permit to build a highly polluting coal plant in Holcomb, Kansas. In the fall of 2007, the state Department of Health and Environment denied Sunflower's previous permit application for a different coal-burning facility.

"Building a massive, new polluting coal facility will have serious long-term consequences for Kansas, and the public's voice should be heard on such an important matter," said Stephanie Cole of the Kansas Sierra Club.

In the letter, Earthjustice and Sierra Club remind the state that more than three years has passed since Sunflower Electric submitted an application for a different coal plant in 2006. The law requires Sunflower Electric to submit a new permit application with updated environmental analyses for the newly proposed power plant.

The letter states, "...the 2006 application and analyses, and the public process associated with that application, are outdated and do not pertain to the proposed 895 MW facility."

"In the deal recently struck behind closed doors between the governor and Sunflower Electric, the public was left out. We deserve an opportunity to have our voice heard," said Barb Percival, a Garden City resident who lives near the project site.

"The truth is building a new, dirty coal plant really only serves the interest of a few while overlooking the virtually free wind energy resources of Western Kansas," said Earthjustice attorney Amanda Goodin. "The Holcomb coal plant will send most of its power out of state while leaving pollution all over Kansas. These are points we hope to bring up once a new permit application is submitted and public hearings are scheduled," Goodin said.

"We're asking Governor Parkinson and Sunflower Electric to support our request for a fair and open process that includes public hearings," Cole said.

Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment. We bring about far-reaching change by enforcing and strengthening environmental laws on behalf of hundreds of organizations, coalitions and communities.