Kansas legislature upholds governor's veto of coal plants

TOPEKA — Opponents of two power plants proposed for western Kansas won a stunning victory Thursday that they hope signals the end of a six-month war over coal when the Kansas House failed to muster the 84 votes needed to defy Gov. Kathleen Sebelius's veto of the plants.. The vote was 80-45.

House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, a major backer of Sunflower Electric Power Corp.’s project, said he'll continue to push for the House to overturn the veto. But plant opponents called the vote historic, saying it may go down as a turning point in which Kansas becomes a leader in the movement away from old energy sources toward sustainable, environmentally friendly technologies and energy efficiency.

The Sierra Club hailed the vote, and Sebelius, in a statement, called on lawmakers to “work with me on a new comprehensive energy policy.” The debate has thrust Kansas into the forefront of discussions about reliance on fossil fuels, climate change and renewable energy.

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