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New Suit Over Kansas Coal Plant

KSAL StaffJune 27, 2014

The Sierra Club has filed a lawsuit challenging the latest move by Kansas to allow construction of a $2.8 billion coal-fired power plant, partly because the state wouldn’t regulate the plant’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The environmental group says in its filing Friday with the state Court of Appeals that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment also isn’t imposing adequate limits on other pollutants.

Sunflower Electric Power Corp. wants to build the 895-megawatt facility next to an existing coal-fired plant outside Holcomb in southwest Kansas.

The department approved changes last month in a 2010 permit allowing the plant’s construction. It said the revisions set stricter air-quality standards to comply with a Kansas Supreme Court ruling last year in an earlier Sierra Club lawsuit.

Environmentalists contend the changes are superficial.

A Kansas Department of Health and Environment spokeswoman says the agency believes a new coal-fired power plant in the southwest part of the state would comply with all federal and state air-quality laws.

KDHE spokeswoman Sara Belfry made the statement Friday after the Sierra Club filed a new lawsuit with the state Court of Appeals over the $2.8 billion project proposed by Hays-based Sunflower Electric Power Corp.

KDHE Secretary Robert Moser last month approved changes in a 2010 permit to allow construction of the 895-megawatt plant outside Holcomb. The changes were necessary because of a Kansas Supreme Court ruling last year in an earlier Sierra Club lawsuit.

The Sierra Club contends even with the changes the plant wouldn’t comply with federal clean-air rules.

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