Archive for Thursday, April 3, 2008

Leadership needed to end energy impasse

April 3, 2008

In the 2006 Kansas House elections and in the months preceding the start of the legislative session in January, there was ambitious talk of developing a new energy policy for the state. Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Roderick Bremby's denial last October of permits to build two coal-fired electrical plants near Holcomb seems to have put an end to far-reaching action on energy policy. Instead, the session has become a contest between Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and a Republican dominated Legislature over the fate of the coal-fired plants.

This week, the House was reduced to playing games with the Republican majority first approving a tax on eastern Kansas coal-fired plants exceeding certain carbon dioxide limits and then a day later killing the bill. It should be noted, one Republican, Rep. Anthony Brown of Eudora, voted against the measure both times.

Whether the measure was a ploy to expose the supposed hypocrisy of eastern Kansas opponents to the Holcomb energy plants that would be cleaner than those now operating in the eastern part of the state or a piece of legislation so misguided it couldn't stands on its legs for 24 hours, we're heartened to see Brown's consistency in opposition.

Brown was one of those who spoke with passion on the campaign trail about the state's potential to become a leader in alternative energy sources. It might be optimism not grounded in intimate knowledge of statehouse political realities to suggest that some compromise to the impasse could be found with a measure that encourages those alternative energy sources, a commitment to the environment and the realization coal will play a role in the power production in the state for some time.

Those like Brown, who are above gamesmanship on the issue, could provide the leadership to such a compromise.

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