Thursday, November 1, 2007

Sunflower Seeds in South Carolina?

Of course SC DHEC has issued a draft permit for the Pee Dee "Energy Campus" (coal has to be enlightened somewhere, I suppose). As a reminder, DHEC is holding a public hearing "to allow interested persons the opportunity to express concerns and provide comments regarding the proposed plant and the air quality documents that have been drafted" a week from today in Pamplico. Click here for details.

Which leads to this question: what do DHEC and Kansas have in common? Nothing yet, but that's why I've been meaning to post on Kansas for a couple weeks now. Why Kansas of all places you ask? From the Washington Post (10/16/07)

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment yesterday became the first government agency in the United States to cite carbon dioxide emissions as the reason for rejecting an air permit for a proposed coal-fired electricity generating plant, saying that the greenhouse gas threatens public health and the environment.
The decision marks a victory for environmental groups that are fighting proposals for new coal-fired plants around the country. It may be the first of a series of similar state actions inspired by a Supreme Court decision in April that asserted that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide should be considered pollutants under the Clean Air Act.

In the past, air permits, which are required before construction of combustion facilities, have been denied over emissions such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury. But Roderick L. Bremby, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said yesterday that "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."
So Kansas joins Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and Texas among 20+ U.S. states that have said no to old-fashioned coal plants. Beyond the clear significance of denying a coal plant because it is the most GHG-intensive way to produce power, this decision unequivocally demonstrates that a state agency charged with protecting public health and the environment can and should stop these kinds of projects. Many of you may have already guess where I am going with this:

DHEC, are you listening?

For more on the Kansas Department of Health and the Environment and their decision to deny the permit for Sunflower Electric Power Corporation's proposed 1400 MW coal plant, go here or here

A story in this week's Charleston City Paper follows the ongoing controversy.

Here's hoping South Carolina and Kansas have something in common soon.

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