Proposed coal plant delayed

SUNFLOWER Electric will have to pass an environmental review before it can advance with plans to build a coal-fired power plant in Kansas, following a decision by the DC Circuit Court.

Staff Reporter

Sunflower wants to build an 895-megawatt plant outside Holcomb for an estimated $2.8 billion.

In March 2011, a federal judge ruled that the Rural Utilities Service, a branch of the US Department of Agriculture, violated federal law by providing approval and financial assistance to the plant without environmental review and public involvement.

Sunflower appealed that decision, which was dismissed on Tuesday by a three-judge panel.

In their ruling the judges said they had “dismissed Sunflower’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction” because the judge’s 2011 decision directing the RUS to do a study didn't amount to a final order.

The Sierra Club previously sued the RUS in 2007 in hopes of delaying or preventing Sunflower's construction of coal-fired power plants but Kansas granted Sunflower a permit to build the plant in 2010.

Representing the Sierra Club in the case, environmental law group Earthjustice hailed the court’s decision.

"As of today, the Sunflower coal plant cannot be built," Earthjustice attorney Amanda Goodin said in a statement.

“Until the plant receives a full environmental review, this unnecessary, money-losing pollution project is done.”

Sunflower told the Associated Press it was reviewing the decision.

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