'/> Uncommon Hours: Not so fast, Sunflower!
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Monday, July 6, 2009

Not so fast, Sunflower!

EPA: Sunflower must start coal plant permitting process over

From KC Star Primebuzz:

TOPEKA The utility behind a controversial coal plant project in Western Kansas must reapply for a new state permit, the Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday.

The decision means another lengthy delay for Sunflower Electric Power Corp.’s efforts to build an 895-megawatt coal-fired generator near Holcomb, Kan.

The state’s top regulator initially rejected the project in 2007, citing its carbon emissions.

Lawmakers supportive of the plant tried for two years to overrule the regulator before Gov. Mark Parkinson inked a deal this spring to allow a smaller project to move forward.

Sunflower expected the decision and plans to submit its new application this fall, according to company spokeswoman Cindy Hertel.

“We’ll continue to move forward,” she said.

The EPA determined that too much about the project had changed to allow Sunflower to move ahead based on its initial permit application to the state, according to David Bryan, a spokesman for EPA Region 7.

Sunflower applied for a state permit in 2006. Since then the project has been revised significantly, going from three generating units and 2100 total megawatts to one 895-megawatt generator.

“We believe the proposal by Sunflower is a new project,” Bryan said. “That means we expect a public comment period, a technical analysis, all the things that need to be done.”

The initial review of the project lasted 19 months. A second permitting process means another round of public hearings and staff evaluations of the project’s technical details.

Submitted by David Klepper on July 1, 2009 - 4:43pm.

(For more background on this deal see my article, "How a bill became a deal: Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson's 'compromise' with Sunflower Electric.")

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