Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Big Coal Resorts to Bribery

But then, it might be the last card they have left in the deck.

Last fall the Kansas Department of Health and Environment denied air-quality permits for two proposed 700-megawatt coal-fired generators to be built in Western Kansas, near Holcomb. At the time he rendered his decision, Roderick L. Bremby, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said that “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. 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. ”

Well the wingnuts in the Kansas lege went into full-frothed meltdown, and Big Coal ran ads like the one at the left, hiding behind an astroturf organization called Kansans for Affordable Energy, which was funded by Sunflower Electric Power Corp. The ads painted Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as in league with the likes of Chavez, Putin and Ahmadinejad.

She rightly dismissed their lunatic raving as "over the top nonsense" at the time, and went on about the business of governing her state, but we all know how these jackals operate, and we knew they would be back.

And you will never guess what tack they are taking this time...they went to the wingnut infested state legislature with checkbook slightly open. Let Sunflower build their two coal-fired behemoths and they will give K-State $2.5 million over ten years for energy research. Into biofuels.

It is embarrassing how cheap a wingnut will sell out. $250 grand a year for ten years? For research into alternatives to coal? Someone pass me a hanky, I'm bustin' up and tears are streaming!

What a joke! That is five paltry $50,000 grants per year - that isn't enough to pay two grad students to do the actual work! And never mind that the bloom is fading from the biofuels rose.

But House Speaker Melvin Neufeld (Wingnut, Ingalls) thinks it's a jolly good notion, that the state should just flip up her skirts and let Big Coal have a go.

State Representative Paul Davis, Democrat of Lawrence, recognizes the quid pro quo for the round rogering it really is, and blasted the attempted bribe. “I think it’s in poor taste to dangle a contribution to a state university in front of the state Legislature on the eve of a debate on a major bill like this, and then to also say, ‘If you don’t pass the bill I want, we are not going to make this contribution,’ ” said Davis, who opposed the bill.

Just for the record - this isn't a NIMBY position - I would oppose two new coal fired plants no matter where they were on environmental grounds alone, even if I didn't live approximately 300 miles to the east. That they want to put them on the Kansas prairie, where the wind never stops blowing, is just stupid to the point that it's ridiculous.