Kansas 10th grader writes about the new governor’s “sad” decision to okay new coal plant

I’m hoping readers will write a comment to Andrew Grin. We need a lot more 10th-graders like him. Here he is with his “converted 2005 Hyundai Tucson electric vehicle” (details here).

We don’t need to build new dirty coal plants (see FERC chair on new nuclear and coal plants: “We may not need any, ever.”) Nor should we (see “Intro to global warming impacts: Hell and High Water”). But some myopic mid-western states want one last deadly fix — albeit a fix that could last many, many decades and ultimately cost ratepayers billions of dollars. In Kansas, the former Governor had been leading an effort to bring sanity to the state (see “Gov. Sebelius stuck in coal-powered version of Groundhog’s Day”). But with her departure, the new governor caved in to this new coal plant faster than … well, faster than a collapsing coal mine (see deal details with spin here and without spin here). Before I could blog on this, I received an email from an Overland Park 10th Grader, Andrew Grin. After receiving an OK from his (very proud and justifiably so) father — “Andrew showed me what he wrote you. I totally agree and would be happy to have the post on your blog. Andrew is on top of the green movement and already working with some very influential political players who deal exclusively in energy” — I am reprinting it below.While the Kansas move is a tragic one, I find reassurance in knowing we have a new generation of smart, passionate activists coming up. It is the Andrew Grins of the world whose health and welfare we are imperiling with our myopic greed. It is our moral obligation to make sure we hand them a world that is not irreversibly ruined.

Dear Climate Progress:

I am sad to say that just days after our wonderful governor Kathleen Sebelius was swore in as HHS Secretary our new govern, Mark Parkinson,has cut a deal with Sunflower Electric Power Co. to build one 895 megawatt coal plant (of which only 200 megawatts will come to Kansas).

Although the former governor wanted the following compromise [see here]:

“The governor’s letter says the compromise involved the following points.

  • Build one new plant similar in size to the Sand Sage permit previously approved (660 MW);
  • Kansas base load power needs must receive top priority;
  • Plant must be able to implement carbon sequestration technology;
  • Commitment for 20% wind power (132 MW)
  • Commitment for 100 MW of energy efficiency
  • Net metering allowed in the Sunflower service area””

….This new deal includes 180 megawatts of wind and transmission lines that can link our Kansas wind farms to the western U.S. grid, but I am saddened by the omission of energy efficiency (a key climate solution) and net metering which is absent from anywhere in my home state. Hopefully federal legislation will come about soon to ban the building of this and other new coal plants.

Keep up the amazing work Climate Progress!Sincerely, — -Andrew GrinOverland Park, Kansas 10th Grader

[JR: Note to would-be guest bloggers — flattery works! Andrew provides a little more background on himself below: Turns out there is just one degree of separation between us: He knows my friend Chris Paine.]


Just to give you a little more information about myself; I’ve been actively involved in alternative energy after seeing Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and then Chris Paine’s Who Killed the Electric Car. Here are a couple of posts I wrote for Chris’s Revenge of the Electric Car blog.

[JR: One final note to reporters at the Wichita Eagle. You write “Sunflower agreed to a package of environmental improvements, including reducing the carbon dioxide from the proposed power plant from nearly 11 million tons a year to 6.6 million tons.” It is misleading to call that a part of the package of environmental improvements — that was just an inevitable result of agreeing to the smaller coal plant. Here’s a rewriting of your sentence — without spin: “Parkinson and Sunflower CEO Earl Watkins said the new 895-Megawatt plant will incorporate the latest in technology to limit the carbon emissions. But look at this: Sunflower’s earlier 1,400 megawatt proposal would have produced 10.6 million tons of carbon emissions. The new proposal — 895 megawatts — would produce 6.67 million tons of carbon emissions. Works out to nearly the same ratio of carbon to megawatt.” Now if the plant only had biomass cofiring….]