Coal-fired power plants back on agenda in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. _ Lawmakers in Kansas on Thursday will revisit a bruising fight that dominated their work last year: efforts to resurrect two rejected coal-fired power plants in western Kansas.

The Kansas House is scheduled to hold a preliminary vote on a bill that would strip the power a state regulator used to block the plants. Last year, lawmakers tried three times to circumvent the regulator’s decision to deny permits for Sunflower Electric Power Corp.’s two-plant proposal. Each time their efforts were vetoed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat.

Sebelius made it clear she hasn’t changed her mind. “It’s DOA with me, absolutely,” she told reporters Wednesday. Kansas environmental regulator Rod Bremby cited the plants’ carbon emissions as the reason for denying the permit request.

Sunflower Vice President Mark Calcara said he wasn’t surprised that Sebelius was promising another veto.

“We’ve got other branches of government, and they may have something else to say about it,” Calcara said.

The legislation to authorize the plants is expected to pass the House. The key question is whether supporters can muster the two-thirds majority necessary to override the likely veto. Similar legislation is working its way through the Senate.

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