Club Helps Fire Up Opposition to Big Coal in Kansas
In a move supported by the majority of Kansans, state regulators on October 18 denied an air permit for the proposed Sunflower coal-fired power plant near Holcomb--the first time a government agency in the United States has cited carbon dioxide emissions as the reason for denying such a permit. The Sierra Club was a key player in galvanizing opposition to the plant, organizing rallies and press events, educating the public about the benefits of renewable energy sources and conservation, releasing a study on wind power, and speaking out in public and before government officials.
Last December the Club's Kansas Chapter helped organize a rally, above, against the Sunflower plant on the steps of the state capitol in Topeka. Chapter Chair Bill Griffith is pictured speaking at that event, at top. "Griffiths and [Chapter Air Quality Chair] Craig Volland were two of the stars in the Club's campaign," says Bruce Nilles, the Club's senior regional rep in the Midwest. Following the rally, more than 100 protestors marched around the Capitol Building, below.
Another event--this time a news conference--was held on the capitol steps this October 10, pictured in the two photos below, at which the Club and allied environmental, religious, and health organizations urged Kansas Department of Health and Environmental Safety Roderick Bremby to reject Sunflower. Missouri Sierra Club staffer Melissa Hope was instrumental in organizing the event with Kansas Chapter volunteers, who Nilles calls "rock stars." The Sierra Club took out full-page ads in eight newspapers around the state in conjunction with the press conference, refuting the disinformation put out by Sunflower proponents.
The Sunflower/Holcomb plant, which would have locked the state into another 50 years of coal energy and eliminated the market for renewable forms of energy, would have served mostly out-of-state customers while emitting more than 10 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution annually, making it one of the three largest new sources of global warming pollution in the country.