A letter in Sunday’s paper was from a member of the plumbers and pipefitters union.

Dear Editor
A letter in Sunday’s paper was from a member of the plumbers and pipefitters union. While I normally agree with union folks, in the case of the coal plant bill I cannot agree that it is in the best interests of Kansas overall.
People keep talking about “ clean coal.” Saying that a coal plant is clean is like saying that the convicted rapist that used to be your neighbor seemed nice. Coal plants put out lots of stuff, all of it bad to some degree except for the electricity. With the EPA’s standards on coal plant being too lax and out of date, and the Bush administration refusing to take action, Governor Sebelius demonstrated leadership by vetoing the bill. Regardless who the next president is, we will probably have stricter limits on coal plant emissions so the Sunflower Electric is pressing to get its permit now. Could it be that somebody in the coal industry is gong to make a lot more money by getting this bill passed?
The coal bill has a lot of problems. The green provisions are mostly for show, being either voluntary or already being done. Sunflower would be exempted from jurisdiction of the Kansas Corporation Commission, and the KDHE would not have the authority to act in cases of pollution where “substantial endangerment” is possible, but only when harm is “imminent.” Plus, Kansas would not be allowed to enact any air quality rule more strict than federal law. What “green” provisions are present do not even come close to compensating for the damage from 11 million tons of greenhouse gasses per year put out by the plants.
Julie Menghini has it right. She has the vision and boldness to hold out for legislation that will both protect Kansans and encourage new industry that has a brighter and cleaner future than coal. We will continue to need coal plants, but building two plants will saturate the power market and discourage other power development, including wind. Governor Sebelius will sign a bill permitting one new coal plant. Think ahead! That leaves the door open for Kansas to become a leader in the clean power industry.
Tell your legislators to support better energy policy than this current bill.
George Weeks
Pittsburg