The Kansas Department of Health and Environment denied a permit to Sunflower Electric Power, blocking construction of a massive power plant.
“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,” DHE Secretary Rod Bremby said.
From its position in western Kansas, the plant’s mercury, particulate and carbon emissions would have directly influenced air quality throughout the state, while the power itself would have been sold to Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas. The annual 11 million tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere would contribute to the sorts of climactic shifts which are already shifting crop patterns and wild species’ ranges.
Governor Sebelius and her cabinet were slow to act on this permit, and it has been difficult to assess what political calculus was under way. I’ve suggested before that she might make controversial moves if she hoped for a cabinet appointment or if she were angling for the VP nomination, while she might be more cautious if her plans were to focus on the Senate seat Sam Brownback claims he’ll vacate in 2010. She made the right decision here, but ran out the clock on the process. The real measure of her leadership will be shown by how heavily she works to improve energy efficiency and construction of a renewable power supply for the state. With careful planning, Kansas could be exporting wind-generated electricity.
And speaking of Sam Brownback, he is apparently out of the presidential race, following his failure to get any traction, nor, more importantly, donations.