Commentary: Parkinson deals a blow to clean air in Kansas

This editorial appeared in The Kansas City Star.

Gov. Mark Parkinson's disappointing compromise on the future of coal-fired power in Kansas will require intense monitoring by state officials to protect the public from pollution and rising costs.

Under the pact announced Monday, Sunflower Electric would be allowed to build a plant more than four times larger than needed to supply its western Kansas customers. So while most of the plant's electricity would flow to Colorado, its considerable pollution would drift eastward across Kansas for years to come.

Parkinson also regrettably agreed to essentially strip the Kansas Department of Health and Environment of the ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions beyond federal standards. Until now, that agency has helped fend off the excessive expansion of Sunflower's plant.

Finally, the pact would let Sunflower come back in just two years for yet another coal-fired facility.

Assuming the GOP-controlled Legislature approves the utility-friendly deal, Sunflower Electric still faces a number of challenges. The state should require it to:

• Install more wind turbines as promised on Monday.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Kansas City Star.

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