KDHE, Sunflower Electric, Earthjustice, Center for Climate Strategies: different peas in the same pod

Evidence that a business seeking regulatory approval of its project enjoyed an apparently close relationship with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment should not be surprising. Reporting in the Kansas City Star leads with "Hundreds of emails document that officials of a Kansas power plant enjoyed a cozy relationship with the Kansas regulators who issued them a building permit in December." (Kansas agency, utility worked closely on permit for plant) A press release from Earthjustice, the legal advocacy arm of the Sierra Club, proclaimed "A new report reveals Sunflower Electric (Sunflower) enjoyed a cozy relationship with Kansas regulators during the permitting process for the highly controversial coal-fired power plant Sunflower seeks to build in Holcomb." This incident...
Kansas state government

Earl Watkins, Sunflower Chief Executive, speaks at AFP event

Earl Watkins, President and CEO of Sunflower Electric Power Corporation recently spoke to a group of citizen activists as part of AFP - Kansas Day at the Capitol. Here's a few notes from his talk. Did you know that Sunflower Electric is a not-for-profit organization? The demand for electricity changes constantly, moment-by-moment, throughout the day. Since electricity can't be stored, matching generation to consumption of electricity is a challenge. Adding wind power makes this an even more challenging job, as wind power is very erratic. Watkins told a story of how a group of Kansas University students contacted him as part of their investigation of the "slothful and wasteful" practices of excess electricity consumption. Watkins told how when he attended KU, he had a radio and an...

Kansas Wind Power Economic Benefit in Perspective

An editorial in the Wichita Eagle that promotes wind power as an economic benefit for for Kansas contains some reasoning that deserves examination before we commit to the author's cause. (Emil Ramirez: Entire state could benefit from wind, February 19, 2009 Wichita Eagle.) Unstated by Mr. Ramirez, but underlying this op-ed, is that the shift to wind power from coal is necessary to reduce carbon emissions for environmental reasons. The science behind this is far from settled. Besides, there's very little that we in Kansas can do in light of the rapid increase in global carbon emissions. Doing something of this magnitude on shaky scientific evidence is unwise. (See KEEP’s Goal is Predetermined and Ineffectual. Ramirez, by the way, is an appointee to the Kansas Energy and Environmental Pol...

Kansas Climate Change Group Changes

In his piece Separate But Still the Same, climate change alarmist watchdog Paul Chesser writes "A global warming alarmist group that masqueraded for the last few years as an objective consultant for many states announced this week that it has been disowned by its global warming alarmist parents." This article describes changes made at the Center for Climate Strategies. This is of interest to us in Kansas for at least one reason. Here's Chesser's paraphrasing of CCS' pitch made to states: There is a human-caused global warming crisis and the states must do something about it, because the federal government is not. We ask the governor to issue an executive order that confirms this crisis and creates a commission to study greenhouse gas emissions -- but call it a "climate commission." A...

A reasoned look at wind power

The Texas Public Policy Foundation has released a report titled Texas Wind Energy: Past, Present, and Future. It doesn't have a catchy title, but the report is full of useful information about wind energy. Here's a little bit from the executive summary: The distinction between wind and wind energy is critical. The wind itself is free, but wind energy is anything but. Cost estimates for wind-energy generation typically include only turbine construction and maintenance. Left out are many of wind energy’s costs—transmission, grid connection and management, and backup generation—that ultimately will be borne by Texas’ electric ratepayers. Direct subsidies, tax breaks, and increased production and ancillary costs associated with wind energy could cost Texas more than $4 billion per year and ...

Attitudes towards global warming are changing

Global warming alarmists -- in this article Christopher Booker refers to them simply as "warmists" -- have become "even shriller and more frantic" in light of evidence that climate change may not be proceeding they way they've been predicting. In his article in the Daily Telegraph (2008 was the year man-made global warming was disproved), Booker makes these points: Easily one of the most important stories of 2008 has been all the evidence suggesting that this may be looked back on as the year when there was a turning point in the great worldwide panic over man-made global warming. Just when politicians in Europe and America have been adopting the most costly and damaging measures politicians have ever proposed, to combat this supposed menace, the tide has turned in three significant ...

Climate change resource center launched

When evaluating the claims of radical environmental extremists, people need accurate and reliable information about global warming and climate change. To this end, I've started a Climate Change Resource Center page, where readers can find links to reliable sources of information. If you know of other sources or articles that should be listed, please send them to me.
Kansas state government

Climate change alarmism in Kansas is expensive

Today's Wichita Eagle reports on the high cost of climate change mitigation. (Climate cleanup costs could trickle down) Before Kansans commit to expensive courses of action that will be ineffective, we need to consider the wisdom of this action. As reported in the article, "there is the worry that regulation will drive up costs and push industry and jobs to other places." Climate change alarmists treat these yet-to-be-passed regulations as a given, and are sure that they'll be implemented. These regulations, however, are bad public policy, and there's no reason why we should base current decisions on the threat of bad regulations being passed in the future. In fact, to do so would be highly irresponsible. Reported as a counterbalance to the huge costs of complying with bad regulation...
Kansas state government

How a Sub-prime Lender Influences Kansas Energy and Environment Policy

In an American Thinker article titled How allies of George Soros helped bring down Wachovia Bank, you can read about the business activities of Herbert and Marion Sandler: Herbert and Marion Sandler, a New York lawyer and Wall Street analyst respectively, bought a small California thrift in 1963 and built it into GDW [Golden West Financial] -- one of the largest thrifts in the nation. The company's business was built on adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs. These were mortgages offered at low "teaser" rates that ratcheted upward as interest rates increased. They were often sold aggressively to unsophisticated home buyers who did not comprehend the vast financial risks they were taking, or who assumed that housing prices would rise high enough to provide a profit to them when they sold their ...
Kansas state government

Rhonda Holman’s Kansas Energy Policy: Not Good for Kansas

Wichita Eagle editorialist Rhonda Holman writes "[Kansas Governor Kathleen] Sebelius gets it. Too bad the Kansas Chamber does not." This is the end of her lead editorial from today titled Kansas Chamber protecting past. In it, she claims that the Kansas Chamber of Commerce is out of touch with the reality of global warming, and by extension, that our governor isn't. Ms. Holman cites a study showing that green investment in Kansas could add many jobs to our economy. That's no doubt true. But these jobs have all the characteristics of public works jobs, meaning that for each job created, one is lost somewhere else. That's because these jobs don't add to the wealth of Kansas, as we already are producing electricity. These new jobs simply shift Kansas to using a different form of power g...

Cap-and-trade harmful to Kansas

An op-ed in the Wichita Eagle (Amy J. Blankenbiller: Cap-and-trade would be harmful to Kansans) makes the case that some cures for global warming may cause more harm than good. The author warns that "we could be heading toward 'solutions' that are much more harmful to Kansas consumers and businesses than the environmental benefits they aim to provide." Specifically, prices for the forms of energy that most Americans use -- electricity, natural gas, and gasoline -- would rise rapidly. If we need any evidence that increases in energy prices are harmful, consider the reaction to a proposal to increase electricity rates in Wichita by a relatively modest amount. (See Kansas Electric Rates Increase Because of Wind Power Generation.) The important questions: "With Kansas accountable for ...
Open records

Alaska Climate Change Sub-Cabinet: Not an Example of Sarah Palin’s Transparent Government

Paul Chesser of Climate Strategies Watch has done some investigative work seeking to understand the role of The Center for Climate Strategies in Alaska. (The Alaska Climate Change Sub-Cabinet plays the same role there that the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group (KEEP) plays here.) In his excellent and informative post Palin, Alaska's Climate Commission, and (Lack of) Transparency, Paul traces the formation of the climate change panel in Alaska by Governor Sarah Palin and CCS's involvement in that. At the same time, he illustrates the frustration that those making records requests of government agencies often experience. You can also read about CCS's appointment recommendations. Did CCS also make these recommendations in Kansas? I'd like to know. But as Paul's a...
Kansas state government

Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group: Its Heritage

Paul Chesser of Climate Strategies Watch has done some investigative work looking into the background and affiliations of the Center for Climate Strategies. This is important because CCS is the radical environmentalist group that Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius is using to run the activities of the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group, or KEEP. The blog post announcing this work is Center for Climate Strategies in Black & White. The work is ongoing.
Kansas state government

Kansas Climate Change Mitigation Will Be Costly

A recent presentation in Kansas revealed that fighting global warming in Kansas will be quite costly, and will harm lower-income families most. The Wichita Eagle article Business leaders hear climate talk reports that The National Association of Manufacturers calculated that cap-and-trade proposals before Congress would cost the average Kansas family $304 per month in the form of higher prices for energy. That's a very large penalty for Kansas families, especially low-income families, to pay to mitigate something that not all scientists agree is a problem. Then, even if you agree that global warming is a problem, there's very little that Kansans can do in light of global factors outside our control. As reported in KEEP’s Goal is Predetermined and Ineffectual, the rate of growth of ca...
Kansas state government

Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group: Hiding Budget Numbers

Paul Chesser of Climate Strategies Watch writes about the budget transparency of the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group, or KEEP. Kansas government often has troubles with transparency. One of the main problems with KEEP is that policy is being formulated under the guidance of an outside radical environmentalist group, instead of in the legislature by Kansans, where it belongs. Climate Strategies Watch is a great place to learn more about the Center for Climate Strategies. For example: "CCS portrays itself as a technical advisory service organization that does not advocate for specific policies that will affect climate change. However, certain facts about CCS belie this claim and prove the group is controlled by global warming alarmists who seek solutions that wil...
Kansas state government

Maryland Previews Kansas Climate Change Panel

In Kansas, the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group, or KEEP, is meeting and planning the future of Kansas energy policy. If we want to see what the conclusions of this effort will look like, we can look to the just-completed effort in Maryland. Yes, we'll have to make a few adjustments, as Maryland has a seashore and Kansas doesn't, but the basic thrust of the report is likely to be much the same. That's because in both states, the Center for Climate Strategies runs the show. Or, as one columnist wrote in Stupid environmentalist tricks in College Park: The MCCC [Maryland Climate Change Commission] itself is a kangaroo court conceived and controlled by the Center for Climate Strategies, a subsidiary of an avowed alarmist advocacy group posing as a disinterested te...
Kansas state government

Center For Climate Strategies in Kansas: Good Economic Analysis?

As the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group deliberates over the future of the environment in Kansas, we ought to examine the quality of the work product that the Center for Climate Strategies has produced in other states. The Beacon Hill Institute has performed an analysis of some of the work CCS has performed, and the results are troubling. This press release contains a link to the study document. This study is short at six pages, and I would encourage you to read the entire document. One of the things CCS does is to claim that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is actually good economic strategy, using cost-benefit analysis. The Beacon Hiss Institute report, however, finds three serious flaws with the methodology CCS used in its Arizona work. Specifically, CCS fai...
Kansas state government

KEEP’s Goal is Predetermined and Ineffectual

Earlier this year, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius created the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group, or KEEP. Its goal, as stated in the press release announcing its creation, is to "...explore opportunities in all sectors of our economy to accomplish the goal of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions..." Nancy Jackson of the Climate and Energy Project echoed these marching orders in her recent Wichita Eagle opinion piece. This predetermined goal, difficult as it will be to achieve, means nothing to the earth's climate. What Kansas could do, even if we took the most drastic measure possible, is canceled by the action of others. As reported in Science Daily, "The growth in China's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is far outpacing previous estimates ... Auffhammer [o...

Jack Pelton, Leader of Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group

Earlier this year, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius created the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group (KEEP) and appointed Cessna Aircraft Company chairman, president and chief executive officer Jack Pelton as its leader. This was a smart political move by Governor Sebelius. She appears to have put the planning for our state's energy future in the hands of an independent, skeptical businessman, someone who will be concerned about the bottom line. Someone who won't be overly influenced by the emotional appeals of environmentalists. Kansans need to understand, however, that Jack Pelton may not want to, or be able to, exhibit the independence necessary to formulate sound energy and environmental policy in Kansas. In a Wichita Eagle editorial on May 18, 2008, Pelton ...
Kansas state government

Kansas Climate Profile: Cause For Alarm?

The Science and Public Policy Institute has released a series of state climate profiles. The Kansas Climate Profile is very interesting to read, especially in light of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius and the creation of the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group, or (KEEP). One of the things that I've not been able to understand is how people believe that what we do in Kansas -- like denying a permit for a coal-fired power plant -- can have any impact on the global climate. After all, we are just a small part of the planet, and some large countries show no inclination to slow down their production of increasing quantities of greenhouse gases. Just how small is the contribution of Kansas to global carbon dioxide emissions? Vanishingly small: "... even a complete ce...
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