30 Days to Save the Mountains: What’s Right With Kansas?

Actually, many things are going right with Kansas … many.  

And, if you haven’t heard, something very right happened this week.  Kansas has rejected a proposed coal-fired electrical plant due to carbon dioxide pollution.

For any who’ve missed, at Daily KosDevilstower has dedicated a 30 day period of diaries to call attention to the Clean Water Protection Act.  

What is this about?

This is about stopping Mountain Top Removal (MTR), the literal decapitation of swaths of America in pursuit of ever cheaper coal and ever more carbon dioxide pollution.

Co-sponsorship is moving up, with Fighting Dems Murphy and Sestak from coal-heavy Pennsylvania among the most recent cosponsors. Is your representative there?  No?  Time to ask, strongly, why not.  If so, thank them. Let them know that taking stances for an Energy Smart future are supported. This is a pivot point issue for the nation, for the globe.  And, we have 30 days to save the mountains … and the countdown is on.  The count is on … this is Day 4. Have you called your representative or sent them an email?

And, well, the fight against coal and coal-originated CO2 pollution is occurring on many fronts. Reduce the demand and reduce the imperative for blowing up mountains.

What is Right With Kansas?

On 18 October, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) announced that:

Roderick L. Bremby, Secretary of the KDHE, announced today that he has denied the air quality permit for the two proposed 700-megawatt generators at the Sunflower Electric Power Corporation plant near Holcomb.

“After careful consideration of my responsibility to protect the public health and environment from actual, threatened or potential harm from air pollution, I have decided to deny the Sunflower Electric Power Corporation application for an air quality permit,” said Bremby.

“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,” said Bremby.

First, a short aside. “Department of Health and Environment” … “responsibility to protect the public health and environment” … Is anyone else struck by the sensibility of interlinking public health and environment within the same person’s responsibility?  Something else right about Kansas!

This ruling is quite a shocker, as most expected these coal-fired electricity plants to be a done deal, to be contributors to global warming for an indefinite period to come.

Instead, Sunflower’s 700 megawatts of CO2-spewing plants (some 11 million tons of carbon dioxide the plant was expected to produce annually) join something like   60 other coal plants whose construction plans seem derailed (note pdf).  

And, well, the Sunflower cancellation opens the opportunity for Kansans to make some green by going Green.

“Denying the Sunflower air quality permit, combined with creating sound policy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions can facilitate the development of clean and renewable energy to protect the health and environment of Kansans,” said Bremby.

As per Governor Sebelius,

After careful and extended study and serious deliberation, this is the right decision for the health and well-being of the people of Kansas.

What has become clear, however, is that Kansas must take advantage of renewable energy and conservation as we progress through this century. These additional coal plants would have moved us in the wrong direction

We’re committed to achieving growth, but we must make smart choices about the future.

Smart choices about the future … isn’t that what Political Leaders are about?

Governor Sebelius have made a strong statement that the future is not about spewing carbon, but in seeking an Energy Smart future of energy efficiency and renewable energy.

And, the reviews are coming in. From an e-mail received from Sierra Club:

“This decision clears the way for a bright, clean energy future in Kansas and across the Midwest,” said Bruce Nilles, Director of the Sierra Club’s National Coal Campaign.  “The Holcomb plant would have locked the state into another 50 years of dirty, polluting coal energy and eliminated the market for the renewable forms of energy that are the future.  Kansas, and particularly West Kansas, is now perfectly positioned to develop its abundant clean energy resources, help solve global warming, and create thousands of new family-supporting jobs.”  

“Today Kansas embraced a bright, clean energy future powered by new technologies that will breathe life into our economy, and took a giant first step toward  protecting our children and grandchildren from the devastating impacts of global warming,” said Nick Persampieri, attorney for Earthjustice who filed the suit. “The rest of the nation should follow the lead of Kansas and the handful of other states that have rejected plans for new dirty coal plants”

Let me join their voices and reiterate that, as far I’m (and the world’s future is) concerned, there is something right in Kansas!

Public Health and the Environment

Where is the governmental voice for Public Health and the Environment when it comes to Mountain Top Removal?  

Stumped …

I certainly am …

Instead, there is the false argument pitting the environment against economy.  

Jobs! JOBS! JOB!!!

Isn’t this what its about?

Well, in fact, even with mounting coal production (records every year), employment is nosediving in the face of mechanization.  (For more information, economy and coal.)

Coal Mining is a dying industry intent, it seems, on taking as much of the planet with it as possible, including West Virginia’s mountains and ecological diversity.

But, options exist.

If, rather than MTRing the terrain toward a Kansas-like plain, a 40 mile-by-40 mile section of West Virgian were devoted to wind, its

1 million acres of land could support roughly 38,000 turbines that annually produce 3-4% of total US electric demand. The actual footprint of these turbines would be roughly 10,000 acres, leaving a surrounding 990,000 acres of untouched forested land.

Is West Virginia’s future Blowing in the Wind?

We must act before the opportunity is blown away with Appalachia’s mountain tops.

30 Days to Save the Mountains

We have passed Day 5 of a 30 Day campaign …

Have you taken the time to

contact your Representative?

And, if you have, here are some key committee members who haven’t signed on yet … who merit a call to encourage that signature:

Eddie Bernice Johnson:  202-225-8885
Grace Napolitano:   202-225-5256
Brian Baird:    202-225-3536
Mazie Hirono:    202-225-4906
Harry Michell:    202-225-2190
Michael Arcuri:   202-225-3665


As per the Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment,

On August 24, 2007, the Bush administration proposed repealing another longstanding environmental protection law in order to allow the coal mining industry to engage in “mountaintop removal” mining.  In mountaintop removal mining, coal companies actually blow up entire mountaintops and dump millions of tons of waste into nearby streams, burying them forever.  This parting gift from the administration to its coal industry friends will allow coal companies to continue their assault on the forests, streams and communities of Appalachia.

Well, you can help stop this.

We can all speak to help end this travesty. To help turn the tide on Global Warming, keep John Denver’s dream Almost Heaven alive, and help West Virginia (and West Virginians) find a path toward a Prosperous, Climate-Friendly Society.  

Check the list of list of cosponsors. Is your representative there?  No?  Time to ask, strongly, why not.  If so, thank them. Let them know that taking stances for an Energy Smart future are supported. This is a pivot point issue for the nation, for the globe.  And, we have 30 days to save the mountains … and the countdown is on.  This is Day 4. Have you called your representative?

It is time to take that keyboard and WRITE YOUR REPRESNTATIVE in support of the Clean Water Protection Act, HR2169.  This is an act that is critical for clean-drinking water for Americans across the nation. It would also help stop mountaintop removal.



Ask yourself:  Are you doing
your part to


Are you ready
  to do your part?

Your voice can
… and will make a difference.

So … SPEAK UP … NOW!!!


* Related material at Energy Smart.

* Consider joining the new, improved Daily Kos Environmentalists community / listserve.

* See others here on this issue/MTR. For example, Devilstower’s Trading on Disaster about facilitating MTR and Red Blood, Black Rock about mining; and, Prankster’s What you can do to stop the rape of Appalachia.

TO CALL to ask them to co-sponsor H.R.2169 “To amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to clarify that fill material cannot be comprised of waste.”


One response to “30 Days to Save the Mountains: What’s Right With Kansas?

  1. Pingback: Coal kills … Republican Politician’s Career « Energy Smart

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