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Industry News

Sunflower Files Suit for Kansas Coal-fired Plant

LCG, November 20, 2008--Sunflower Electric Power Corporation (Sunflower) filed a lawsuit that requests injunctive relief related to the denial of an air quality permit for Sunflower's proposal to construct a 700-MW, coal-fired, electric generating unit at an existing facility in western Kansas. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court, District of Kansas, against the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and the Secretary of Department of Health & Environment of Kansas.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) in October 2007 rejected Sunflower's proposal. At that time, the Secretary of the KDHE stated, "I believe it would be irresponsible to ignore emerging information about the contribution of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to climate change and the potential harm to our environment and health if we do nothing." The KDHE staff's recommendation was to approve the permit for the new coal plant.

According to Sunflower, the defendants, acting in their official capacity, violated Sunflower's right to fair and equal treatment under the law and are unlawfully prohibiting interstate commerce. The lawsuit asks that these three officials be stopped from preventing Sunflower from lawfully pursuing the expansion.

The Kansas legislature submitted three measures to overturn the decision to reject the permit, but the Governor vetoed the bills.

Prior to the permit being rejected, the attorneys general from eight states requested the KDHE to deny the permit due to concerns about plant emissions and global warming.

Sunflower owns the current Holcomb plant that provides power for six electric cooperatives. The existing Holcomb Station became operational in 1983 and has a generating capacity of 360 MW. The plant now burns low-sulfur coal mined in Wyoming's Powder River Basin and delivered to the plant by rail. Sunflower would have co-owned the proposed unit at the Holcomb plant.
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