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Notes on changes in new energy legislation



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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.

Kansas Warming
http://www.kansaswarming.org/archives/44


George Will and the “global cooling” myth.



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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.

Kansas Warming
http://www.kansaswarming.org/archives/42


Kansas Warming has been on hiatus



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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.

Kansas Warming
http://www.kansaswarming.org/archives/40


Intermodal



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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…)

Kansas Warming
http://www.kansaswarming.org/archives/38


East vs. West — The shot over the bow



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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…)

Kansas Warming
http://www.kansaswarming.org/archives/37


“A matter of life and death”



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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…)

Kansas Warming
http://www.kansaswarming.org/archives/36


Yael Abouhalkah is wrong. (It’s more complicated, of course…)



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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…)

Kansas Warming
http://www.kansaswarming.org/archives/34


Governor’s compromise



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Someone has to say it.

The governor’s “compromise” was not a good one.

(more…)

Kansas Warming
http://www.kansaswarming.org/archives/33


The magic bullet



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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…)

Kansas Warming
http://www.kansaswarming.org/archives/29


The Winter of Al Gore’s Discontent



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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.”

(more…)

Kansas Warming
http://www.kansaswarming.org/archives/26


Kansas in Global Warming Crosshairs in Future



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Kansas in the CrosshairsIf 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.)  Get Adobe Acrobat  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.)

Kansas Warming
http://www.kansaswarming.org/archives/23


Who do you trust on global climate change?



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by Harry Gregory

Board Member, Kansas Citizens For Science (www.kcfs.org)

3/9/08

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.

(more…)

Kansas Warming
http://www.kansaswarming.org/archives/19


Play with the devil



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“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…)

Kansas Warming
http://www.kansaswarming.org/archives/18


Carbon “deficit” spending



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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.

(more…)

Kansas Warming
http://www.kansaswarming.org/archives/17


Make a decision



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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.

(more…)

Kansas Warming
http://www.kansaswarming.org/archives/16

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