'/> Uncommon Hours: “Burn, baby, burn!” – Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson’s response to global warming
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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

“Burn, baby, burn!” – Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson’s response to global warming

By Bob Sommer
Uncommon Hours

If Arlen Specter’s dubious bolt to the Democratic Party last week wasn’t enough to make you wonder what being a Democrat is all about, consider Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson. The former Republican shed his elephant skin in 2006 to run for lieutenant governor with Democrat Kathleen Sebelius, now President Obama’s pick to run HHS.

Parkinson didn’t wait till her chair had cooled to get busy, meeting secretly last week with Sunflower Electric’s CEO, Earl Watkins, to forge an agreement that will allow a new coal-fired plant to be built in western Kansas—this following Sebelius’ veto of a bill that would have permitted two new coal plants here.

After a near two-year effort by environmental groups and citizens throughout the state to prevent these plants from being built, the Republican attempt to override Sebelius’ veto looked DOA just days ago.

Kansas was about to abandon for good what NASA scientist James Hansen calls “factories of death”—coal plants—when Parkinson unraveled the entire effort.

The result is a stunning reversal of Sebelius’ veto—by her own former lieutenant governor—just a week after she left!

Sierra Club spokesperson Stephanie Cole issued the following statement today:

“With the settlement Governor Parkinson offered to Sunflower Electric, Kansas has given up its place as a national leader on clean energy. Under former Governor Sebelius Kansas was well-positioned to make contributions to slow global warming. This agreement is a significant setback. The concessions made to the coal industry will greatly outweigh any so-called benefits for the state. For instance, the carbon ‘offsets’ cited in the agreement are generally questionable, unenforceable, and won't result in a reduction in global warming pollution.

“The new coal plant actually increases Kansas' contributions to global warming. Kansas didn't need to swallow the coal plant that's a part of this agreement. While the country is moving away from polluting fossil fuels, Kansas has opened the door for outdated, dirty technology other states are rejecting. The agreement appears to invite Sunflower Electric to build another coal plant in two years. This is not a compromise, but a giveaway to the coal industry Kansans have stood up against.”

The next Republican who comes knocking on the Democratic Party door should be told to take a hike.

Gov. Mark Parkinson

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