Environmentalists seek to block western Kansas coal-burning plant

Environmentalists on Monday filed a legal brief with the Kansas Supreme Court seeking to stop construction of an 895-megawatt coal-burning power plant near Holcomb.

The Kansas Sierra Club, represented by Earthjustice, alleged the permit given to Sunflower Electric Power Corp. violates the federal Clean Air Act.

"The Sunflower permit process was so completely hijacked by coal supporters that a citizen lawsuit became necessary," said Stephanie Cole, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Sierra Club.

Sunflower Electric, based in Hays, and state regulators have said the permit meets all state and federal requirements.

The lawsuit filed against the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said the permit fails to protect the public health and was granted using an improper procedure. Environmentalists cited a recent Kansas City Star report that showed Sunflower was allowed to draft responses to public comments about the proposed plants for KDHE.

By Scott Rothschild

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