AG's pollution push helped shove Kansas coal plants

Legal News Line Oct. 22, 2007, 10:53am

Paul Morrison

TOPEKA -- Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison strongly influenced a state ruling last week to deny permits to two coal-fired power plants in southwest Kansas. Health and Environment Secretary Rod Bremby stated in an announcement Thursday he had refused Sunflower Electric Power Corporation an air-quality permit for two 700-megawatt generators. Bremby cited concerns over potential levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the announcement. "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," Bremby stated in the release. But Morrison had earlier given Bremby the legal underpinnings for his decision on the plants, AP reported today. Morrison issued an opinion Sept. 24 that gave Bremby the power to impose "preventative measures" against air pollution, AP noted, including denying or modifying air-quality permits. Sierra Club attorney Bob Eye of Topeka told AP that the AG's advice was key to Bremby's decision to nix the plans. "Once the attorney general weighed in on this, it should have given the secretary the last piece of legal authority" he needed to make his decision, Eye said.

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