Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Why Sunflower is a victory for Republicans

The compromise struck yesterday between Gov. Mark Parkinson and Sunflower Electric was a beautiful compromise to bring jobs and economic development to western Kansas. For once Topeka put the interests of working Kansans first rather than their political point.

But like everything today the Holcomb Power Plants were a political decision. Of course they never should have been a political decision, but former Gov. Sebelius and KDHE Sec. Bremby made sure it was a political issue. Next time you get tired of non-political things being made political, you can thank Queen Kathleen.

Republicans cleaned up in this battle for the ages, lets face it. Yes, only one plant will be built and yes, green provisions will have to be complied with that will significantly raise electric rates for all Kansans. But let's look at what the other side had to give up to get a little green. The plant that is going to be build is much larger than the original 700MW proposal from Sebelius. Plus it includes the latest technology which Sunflower would have included anyway.

Most importantly, KDHE Sec. Bremby has been stripped of his "authority" to stop any future permits based solely on CO2. In other words, should Sunflower decide another plant is necessary in the future and meets all federal and state requirements (as it did before!) then KDHE will have to issue the permit. And remember this will most likely be done under a Governor Brownback. Perhaps this wasn't what was in mind when the deal was struck, but it's certainly a possibility that's crossed my mind.

Further, one has to ask why Parkinson was so eager to strike a compromise. Was his control of Democrats at risk? Did he see the writing on the wall and decided one plant was better than two? I don't think that will ever come out, but clearly Kansas Democrats and environmental wackos lost yesterday and Kansas Republicans cleaned up.

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