Sunflower Power President's "No Fuel Bias" Questionable in Kansas

Wed, 2008-03-26 10:29Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

Sunflower Power President's "No Fuel Bias" Questionable in Kansas

The tangled web of rhetoric and PR spin is being tightly wove as the Kansas coal plant fight continues.

Case in point, Earl Watkins Jr. is the President and CEO of Sunflower Electric Power Corporation, the company who recently lost its bid to build two new coal plants in Kansas and he's been making the rounds in the State Legislator trying to convince politicians that his company, “… has no fuel bias, meaning they're doing what provides the best fuel supply at the best price.”

Watkin's “no fuel bias” is a little hard to believe when the same Earl Watkins Jr. sits on the Board of Directors of the Western Fuels Association, a cooperative business that supplies 17 million tons of coal to electric generating plants across the United States.

Its even harder to swallow Watkin's spin with release of a new report by financial research firm Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, finding that natural gas generation might actually be more cost-effective given impending federal greenhouse gas regulations.

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius vetoed a Bill on Friday, March 21, 2008 that would have overturned the earlier decision by the government to not approve the construction of two new coal-fired electric plants. The application, submitted by Sunflower, was turned down due to concerns over the increase of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions that are the cause of global warming.

But the fight to keep new coal out of Kansas isn't over yet.

The Kansas House Energy and Utilities Committee has already drafted a new Bill for consideration that looks a lot like the last Bill. Proponents are hoping that the slight green tinge on this new Bill will be enough to pass it by a two-thirds majority in the House, thus making it veto-proof.

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