Coal Industry Smears Kansas Governor As Ahmadinejad Booster For Denying Air Permit

On Oct. 18, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment denied air quality permits for two 700-megawatt coal-burning power generators near Holcomb, KS, “citing health and environmental concerns associated with carbon dioxide emissions.” The decision was “the first time a coal plant air permit application” had “ever been denied on the basis of CO2 emissions.”

This past Monday, newspapers across Kansas ran an ad by Kansans for Affordable Energy attacking the decision. They featured the smiling faces of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, asking “why are these men smiling?” The answer, according to the ad, is Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D):

Because the recent decision by the Sebelius Administration means Kansas will import more natural gas from countries like Russia, Venezuela and Iran.

Here’s the ad:


Unmentioned in the ad, however, is the fact that Kansans for Affordable Energy is partially funded by Sunflower Electric Power Corp. and the Peabody Coal Company. Sunflower Electric is the company whose permits were rejected by Sebelius’s administration.

Also, as the Washington Post notes this morning, the ads are extremely misleading. Not only does “Kansas currently export natural gas to other states,” but the United States doesn’t even “currently import natural gas from Russia, Venezuela or Iran.”

After taking criticism over the ad, Bob Kreutzer, a founder of Kansans for Affordable Energy, admitted that the link between Sebelius and Ahmadinejad, et al. may have been “a little bit extreme.”

UPDATE: In response, Sebelius called the ads “over the top nonsense,” adding:

Anyone who would associate our state with the controversial and disreputable world leaders pictured in this ad fundamentally misunderstands and disrespects the people of Kansas.

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