One section of current Kansas law is “Statute 65-3012: Action to protect health or environment“.
The new Senate Substitute for HB2369 makes very substantial changes to that statute. Underlined portions are my emphasis:
Current K.S.A. 65-3012:
Statute 65-3012: Action to protect health or environment. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this act, the secretary may take such action as may be necessary to protect the health of persons or the environment: (1) Upon receipt of information that the emission of air pollution presents a substantial endangerment to the health of persons or to the environment; or (2) for an imminent or actual violation of this act, any rules and regulations adopted under this act, any orders issued under this act or any permit conditions required by this act.
(b) The action the secretary may take under subsection (a) includes but is not limited to:
(1) Issuing an order directing the owner or operator, or both, to take such steps as necessary to prevent the act or eliminate the practice. Such order may include, with respect to a facility or site, temporary cessation of operation.
(2) Commencing an action to enjoin acts or practices specified in subsection (a) or requesting the attorney general or appropriate county or district attorney to commence an action to enjoin those acts or practices. Upon a showing by the secretary that a person has engaged in those acts or practices, a permanent or temporary injunction, restraining order or other order may be granted by any court of competent jurisdiction. An action for injunction under this subsection shall have precedence over other cases in respect to order of trial.
(3) Applying to the district court in the county in which an order of the secretary under subsection (b)(1) will take effect, in whole or in part, for an order of that court directing compliance with the order of the secretary. Failure to obey the court order shall be punishable as contempt of the court issuing the order. The application under this subsection for a court order shall have precedence over other cases in respect to order of trial.
(c) In any civil action brought pursuant to this section in which a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction is sought, it shall not be necessary to allege or prove at any stage of the proceeding that irreparable damage will occur should the temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction not be issued or that the remedy at law is inadequate, and the temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction shall issue without such allegations and without such proof.
(d) Any order of the secretary pursuant to subsection (b)(1) is subject to hearing and review in accordance with the Kansas administrative procedure act.
New replacement for K.S.A. 65-3012, from Senate Substitute for HB2369-changes to statute 65-3012, editing all substitutions and changes in the Senate Substitute as passed. Underlines are my emphasis, not marking all changes just some I thought were particularly important:
65-3012. (a) Upon receipt of evidence that emissions from an air pollution source or combination of air pollution sources presents (1) An imminent and substantial endangerment to public health or welfare or to the environment; or (2) for an imminent or actual violation of this act, any rules and regulations adopted under this act, any orders issued under this act or any permit conditions required by this act, the secretary may issue a temporary order not to exceed seven days in duration, directing the owner or operator, or both, to take such steps as necessary to prevent the act or eliminate the practice.
(b) Upon issuance of the temporary order, the secretary may commence an action in the district court to enjoin acts or practices specified in subsection (a) or request the attorney general or appropriate county or district attorney to commence an action to enjoin those acts or practices.
(c) The secretary may bring suit in any court of competent jurisdiction to immediately restrain the acts or practices specified in subsection (a). An action for injunction under this subsection shall have precedence over other cases in respect to order of trial.
(d) The owner or operator, or both, aggrieved by an order of the secretary issued pursuant to this section shall be immediately entitled to judicial review of such agency action by filing a petition for judicial review in district court. The aggrieved party shall not be required to exhaust administrative remedies. A petition for review under this subsection shall have precedence over other cases in respect to order of trial.
Changes go so far as even removing the title as “Action to protect health or environment,” leaving just the statute number (if I read correctly)!
The removal of the ability of the Secretary to order “cessation of operation” was changed in the Sentate Substitute, and was not in the original HB. Largely this set of changes eliminates the ability of the Secretary to order stoppages, requires a new “evidence” provision, and takes the teeth out of the Secretary’s actions leaving enforcement largely as a court battle.
I’ll add more notes to this section as I come to understand them.
National and international science academies and professional societies have assessed the current scientific opinion on climate change, in particular recent global warming. These assessments have largely followed or endorsed the IPCC position of January 2001 that
- An increasing body of observations gives a collective picture of a warming world and other changes in the climate system… There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities. (more…)
Rush for coal plants slows to a stagger
By KAREN DILLON
The Kansas City Star
If the Sunflower Electric Power Corp. coal-fired power plants are built in Kansas — and that’s still an if — they could be among the last to go up in America for quite a while.
Just a few years ago, 180 coal plants were on the drawing boards across the country. Now that number may be down by half.
“The rush to build new coal plants is on its last legs,” said James Gignac, Midwest director of Sierra Club’s “Move Beyond Coal” campaign. “Over 90 of the coal plants have been abandoned or defeated.”
Even industry officials acknowledge that applications for new plants have slowed significantly.
“What we have seen in the past year and a half is a decrease in the numbers of proposals for new coal-fired power plants,” said Dan Riedinger, a spokesman for Edison Electric Institute, which represents 70 percent of the electric power industry.
… Read article in Kansas City Star
At least that is the heading as printed in the Kansas City Star, Feb 28, 2009.
By DAVID KLEPPER and STEVE KRASKE
The Kansas City Star
TOPEKA | Last year, Kansas backers of coal-burning power plants were like Sisyphus in mythology, doomed to roll a boulder up an incline again and again.
Lawmakers kept passing bills to get the plants built in western Kansas, then saw Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius wield her veto pen and kick the big rock down again.
This year they’re at it again. But has anything changed?
As it turns out, plenty.
New leadership in the Kansas House. Changes in tactics by plant supporters. Less vocal opposition.
And in this troubled economy, arguments about job creation and stable electric rates are a lot more compelling.
Still, it’s going to be tough for Republican leaders — particularly in the House — to muster the two-thirds majorities needed to override Sebelius, who has vowed to support her top regulator’s decision to reject the plants in 2007.
Read article in Kansas City Star…
Recently Washington Post commentator George Will called the scientific consensus that we need to reduce carbon emissions a “hypothetical calamity” (printed Feb. 20 in Kansas City Star, Feb 15th in the Washington Post). He referred to a currently popular notion that climate scientists are fickle and as recently as the 1970s were largely warning of the opposite problem, “global cooling.” While there are many good refutations to the notions in the column, your author suspects that this issue in various forms and from various sources may influence Kansas legislators. (The notion is repeated by the Heartland Institute, which provides literature to Kansas legislators.) Meetings with Kansas legislators suggest that they see the issue of global climate change as largely unsettled in the minds of scientists, and a vast majority have voted to override the Governor’s veto of a bill to allow new coal-fired power plants in Kansas. Below are several links written by highly reputable scientists and science writers on this issue of the so called “global cooling myth:”
Real Climate: The global cooling mole. (By John Fleck, science writer for the Albuquerque Journal, and William Connolley, a former a climate modeller with the British Antarctic Survey.)
George Will and the Global Cooling Scare. (John Fleck’s A reporter’s notebook about science and technology, hosted by the Albuquerque Journal.)
Real Climate, on “global cooling” issue in recent CNN programming. (By Gavin Schmidt, a climate modeller at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.)
Real Climate’s Peterson, Connolley, and Fleck did a study to counter the ”myth” that atmospheric scientists were predicting “global cooling” in the 1970’s. (Link is PDF file).
Real Climate: The global cooling myth (William Connolley, includes refuting an identical quote out of context from Will in 2005.)
A specific example, from this last article, deals with Will’s statement that scientists wrote about “extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation.” (An identical quote from a 2005 editorial which Will repeats.) The problem is that article, from Dec. 10, 1976 Science Magazine, deals with something that may happen sometime in the next 20,000 years or so! Now humans have only built civilizations for the last 6,000 years, and engaged in agriculture for at most 11,000 years. The issue was dealing with something that possibly may take place in a time span many times longer that that of human civilization — but hardly an eminent occurrence. However global climate changes are of immediate scientific concern about events occurring in the next few decades.
A few misguided popular press articles from a time in which climate change science was in its infancy cannot be compared to virtually every science organization of national or international standing’s current warning that climate change is happening now and that greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced.
With the defeat of the coal bill in last year’s Kansas legislature, and a heavy work load for your author, Kansas Warming has been on hiatus. But the issue lives on, and we must find time to discuss this issue. Your author intends to make as much time as possible for this important issue, now that several things have changed:
- A new administration in the federal government is more favorable to climate protection and incentives for alternative energy. Limitations on carbon emissions may be forthcoming soon, but there is a time gap in which Kansas can backslide into increasing carbon emissions for the next fifty years with one or more huge coal-fired power plants.
- A new set of bills are before the Kansas legislature to overturn the Governor’s veto.
- Kansas will have a new Governor soon who, like Governor Sebellius, has promised to veto legislation to allow coal fired coal plants. The vote margins to overturn the veto of such bills will be very narrow.
Votes have switched, but the veto is probably still sustainable. Notable is Representative Pat Colloton changing from her previous stand against coal fired power plants (mentioned last year in our blog), but there are others as well including new legislators. Those who think that the highest priorities should include protection of future generations — and also accept the world-wide consensus of virtually every national or international scientific organization that we must reduce carbon emissions — need to understand what causes legislators to switch on this issue. We need to move beyond just sustaining a veto towards a stand that actually moves Kansas forward with wind and other alternative energy resources that both promote economic activity, reduce the risks to future generations, and promote energy independence from foreign oil.
According to Overland Park Sun newspapers:
Sen. Julia Lynn, R-Olathe, said CO2 emissions from the coal plants would be less than emissions from the proposed intermodal facility near Gardner.
In a recent meeting with citizens, Representative Tim Owens (R-Overland Park) expressed a desire for more information on the Gardner Intermodal facility.
Is Sen. Lynn’s statement being taken seriously? (more…)
Time and again your author has heard legislators mention a divide of sorts between the populous East, and the Western counties of the state of Kansas. We in the East have our coal-fired power plants now, so we can afford to suggest that Western Kansas not build another.
Now consider another perspective–that the realization is sinking in that global climate disruption is serious business, highly worth a great deal of effort. Where to start? (more…)
Steve Rose, publisher of the Johnson County Sun newspapers group, writes a regular column. The last deals with the coal-fired plant issue, and your author disagrees in some points of language and fact:
Sun Newspapers Memo column: A matter of life and death
Politics can be a powerful force, even when life and death is on the line. (more…)
The Johnson County area Sun newspapers carried this story this week:
By: Katrina Segers, staff writer
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Every vote counts.
With the House sitting at an 83-41 vote to approve two coal-fired power plants in western Kansas, a change in only one vote during the wrap-up session that starts April 30 could override the governor’s veto.
State Rep. Pat Colloton, R-Leawood, said although she is still grappling with the issue, she is considering changing her vote against the plants to a vote supporting the plants. (more…)
At least in part.
See his Kansas City Star editorial, Sebelius, coal-fired power plants and environmentalists:
Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is absolutely right to oppose building a greatly expanded coal-fired plant. But environmentalists need to back off their no-more-coal-in-Kansas arguments. Sebelius has. (more…)
Someone has to say it.
The governor’s “compromise” was not a good one.
The various Sun newspapers of the Johnson County area ran the story Thursday (3rd):
‘Some pollution is OK’
We didn’t ask permission to quote the entire article, and will change that if necessary. This article fails to give any “other sides” to the issue except for the state senators’ opinions, and only dissenting opinion on construction of a new coal-fired power plant is from Sen. David Wysong, “My district is concerned about global warming and we listened to them.”
What is very important about this article is that it gives the context from the Kansas legislature point of view. People who disagree (like your web site’s author) need this information:
‘Some pollution is OK’
By: Katrina Segers, staff writer
The fate of two $3.6 million coal-fired power plants in western Kansas remains unknown, but most state senators from Johnson County support the plants. (more…)
Lots of cash behind coal plant clash
The energy industry, utilities and environmental groups are locked in a high-stakes battle in the Kansas Legislature to win the minds (and votes) of legislators. Theories of global warming clash with debates over coal as a clean fuel. Questions of fairness and economic development are lobbed back and forth.
And amid all the rhetoric, the effort to swing votes has turned into the most expensive lobbying fight in state history. Annual lobbying expenditures have topped $1 million for the first time. More than half of the $1.17 million in lobbying expenses reported to the state in 2007 came from energy companies and utilities.
The article continues with comments on legislator’s beliefs in the science of global climate change:
Science in dispute
There isn’t one. …
There is no “magic bullet.”
We have an inflated view of the power of technology to solve our problems. Especially in our art and thought, fantastic futures are only a few years away.
Consider the movie (and book) 2001 a Space Odyssey. (Your author went back to see it fourteen times in his youth, and didn’t realize that Clark had died within hours of the posting of the original version of this story.) (more…)
Glenn McCoy writes a political comic, primarily devoted it would seem to making fun of Democrats. The March 10th entry in the Kansas City Star featured the title “The Winter of Al Gore’s Discontent.” (The link is to an online copy, not a KC Star site.)
“Global Warming is here!” A fat disheveled Al Gore holds a sign in blustering snow, a snow peaked news stand displays “Record low temps,” “Arctic Ice Thickens,” “Snow in Saudi Arabia,” as a penguin observes questioning. Apparently this attitude is common, just a randomly searched web site complains “Global Warming Update: Winter 2008 Coldest in Seven Years,” and pokes fun at “liberals.”
If you think Kansas summers are brutal now, look at what our grandchildren & great-grandchildren will face in the summer of 2090!
Craig Volland of the Kansas Sierra Club has written a pointed article on the potential effects of global warming on Kansas farmers if we continue “business as usual”: Kansas in Global Warming Crosshairs in Future. (Note this link is to an Acrobat .PDF file.) Click the graphic to the right to see larger color image of the graph in the newsletter, and also a list of reference articles.
This article refers to a paper from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, called The Heat is On Climate Change & Heatwaves in the MIdwest. (Note this link also to Acobat .PDF file.)
We’ve made a number of changes.
The “about” page has contact information.
Printing of articles now works without all the clutter. It’s not perfect, but you won’t get all the links. To print, just print the page, no special links to follow–try it! Better to kill a few trees if it will save an entire power plant or two from being built.
Navigation around the site works better now.
We have a steady stream of articles in the works, about one every day or two.
This article may have appeared in several newspapers around the state.
‘Use wind, not coal’
Protesters to coal-fired power plants overwhelmingly push for renewable energy.
By Sarah Kessinger - Harris News Service
“It’s bad economic development policy to be building new coal plants,” said Perney, a city commissioner. “Electric power from wind farms puts more money into communities where they’re located. We need a band of wind towers from Elkhart to St. Francis.”
He and counterparts Tuesday also voiced their objections to a bill that was written and passed to enable two new coal-fired power plants for a Kansas utility and two others from Colorado and Texas.
“If we go with coal now, we’re never going to make a transfer to a renewable source,” said Megan Hughes, a stay-at-home mom from Parsons.
The trip that many of us made to the Capitol made the Hutchison News.
Diverse mix of Hutch residents attend rally
Like most of the passengers on the bus, Branscom was hoping that Gov. Kathleen Sebelius would veto the energy bill, House Substitute for Senate Bill 327, which passed the House and Senate last week.”I’m a very concerned citizen,” Branscom said.
While completely opposed to the two proposed coal-fired plants in Holcomb, he also was hoping to convey a message to legislators that there needed to be provisions for Bill 327 to include wind energy.
Your author and many more from across the state made this trip–indeed a learning experience.
by Harry Gregory
Board Member, Kansas Citizens For Science (www.kcfs.org)
Whenever the findings of scientific research conflict with strongly held beliefs or threaten economic interests, there is, predictably, push-back from groups and individuals who are affected. Because most people don’t have the necessary scientific background to judge scientific claims on their merits, they trust people they consider to be their authorities.
However, in some cases, these authorities are not as scientifically informed as they might be. In light of some public confusion as to which authorities have “the real scoop,” It is advisable for anyone making decisions of a scientific nature to follow the consensus of the worldwide scientific community.
“Sometimes to dance with the angels you have to play with the devil a little bit.”
According to Sarra Kessinger in the Salina Journal (2/29/2008), about coal-fired power plant legislation:
Yet a majority staunchly supports the measure’s intent to upend a state regulator’s denial of a permit for the power plants because of their expected carbon dioxide output.
“I think you’ve got to have consistency in regulation,” said Rep. Deena Horst, R-Salina. “We have no (CO2) standard, so how can you choose one and say, ‘I’m imposing this standard’?” (more…)
Legislators understand deficit spending. At least they should.
“Deficit” is the amount of change in the debt. That is sometimes obscured–the nation’s “deficit spending” has been reduced. That is only a reduction in the rate at which the national debt is rising.
Carbon dioxide emissions are like a debt to the stored fossil repository that exists within the earth. We extract coal, natural gas, oil, and we “spend” them on producing energy for the things we enjoy. But as they are burned they produce carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas which is causing global climate change that will eventually be very damaging to our lifestyles.
Are we going to leave a world to our children, grandchildren, and their descendants with a drastically altered climate–one that literally if not figuratively “uproots” the essence of our way of life? (Indeed, Kansans may be facing a very different landscape, one of draught followed by land eroding torrents that do not stay long enough to properly nourish crops, and temperatures that suit a very different kind of plant life.)
If you are a legislator in the State of Kansas, you must make a decision. Will you work toward a lowering of carbon dioxide emissions–or will you not? The question is not whether you want to limit the growth in CO2 emissions, the question is whether you will work to reduce emissions. Scientists tell us we need to reduce by as much as 80% (4 out of every 5 units of CO2 emissions eliminated). Limiting the growth of CO2 will have almost negligible effect on climate change, as it continues the buildup of CO2 each year.