Gov. Kathleen Sebelius vetoed the coal plant bill with an anticlimactic penstroke Friday as supporters of the measure considered another route to gaining approval for the giant project in western Kansas.
Sebelius said the legislation, which allows expansion of a coal-fired power plant outside Holcomb and restricts the authority of the state’s top environmental regulator, would have allowed too much carbon dioxide pollution.
“Of all the duties and responsibilities entrusted to me as governor, none is greater than my obligation to protect the health and well-being of the people of Kansas,” she wrote in her veto message.
Supporters of the bill said the veto put the economic and energy needs of western Kansas in jeopardy.
“Not allowing clean coal technology to be part of Kansas’ energy future will result in a devastating increase in the average Kansan’s electric bill,” said Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton.
The legislation, receiving bipartisan legislative support, came in response to an October decision by Rod Bremby, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, to block the 1,400-megawatt expansion of the Holcomb facility as sought by Sunflower Electric Power Corp.
He cited environmental dangers posed by the plant’s annual emission of 11 million tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas many scientists link to global warming.
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