Chief Justice Kay McFarland (R)
TOPEKA -- The future of two contentious coal-fired power stations proposed for southwest Kansas now lies in the hands of the Kansas Supreme Court. Kansas Health and Environment Secretary Rod Bremby nixed permission for Sunflower Electric Power Corp. to build the two plants last month near Holcomb over fears about their potential greenhouse gas (GHG) emission levels, LNL reported in October. Sunflower appealed that decision in state appeals and county district courts. Chief Justice Kay McFarland signed an order last week shifting the appeals to the Supreme Court, a decision welcomed by the Hays-based utility. Sunflower had already lodged an appeal against the decision with Bremby's Department. "Because of the far reaching implications of the KDHE decision on Sunflower, other industry and the general public, we are pleased with the court's decision to transfer the cases," Sunflower Vice President and General Counsel Mark Calcara stated in a release last Thursday. The $3.6 billion project has been opposed by environmental groups concerned about the plants' carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Sunflower has countered with a proposal to construct a bioenergy center aimed at utilizing most of the CO2 the project will emit. "Clearly, the Supreme Court has the opportunity to resolve the regulatory uncertainty now negatively impacting the state," Calcara's statement concluded.