Vermont opposes Kansas coal-fired power plants

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(Host) Vermont and seven other northeastern states have a pact to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the region, by twelve million tons over the next twelve years.

Those states are opposing a plan under consideration in Kansas to build a set of new coal-fired power plants that would emit more than enough carbon dioxide to offset the savings in the Northeast.

Marvin Neufeld is the Speaker of the Kansas House, and a supporter of the new power plants.

(Neufeld) “The four combined will have less mercury emissions than the current one has. There’s also plans out there to harvest the carbon dioxide to make bio-diesel, and so the ambient air coming out of the exhaust stacks is going to be cleaner than the ambient air coming in. And, you know, if people are opposed to science and doing things environmentally, that’s not my problem.”

(Host) There is significant opposition in Kansas to the coal-fired plants, and the notion of turning carbon dioxide gas into bio-diesel fuel is, so far, a concept that is not being used commercially anywhere, and has had no pilot project testing, according to industry and regulatory sources in Vermont.

Jeff Wennberg is Vermont’s Commissioner of Environmental Protection, and, he says the coal-fired plant problem is national in scope.

(Wennberg) “This situation in Kansas is not isolated. Coal is a plentiful resource, but it is among the dirtiest fuels there is for generating electricity from the stand-point of carbon dioxide and climate change.”

“We absolutely have to get into the business of cleaning up coal emissions, not only future coal emissions in this country and around the world, but also the historical ones, the ones that have been causing up problems now for decades.”

“The idea that plants of this magnitude could get permits today to emit twelve million tons per year of C0-2, is just irresponsible, and we’ve got to do everything we can to raise, to raise a ruckus over this thing, and hopefully, get it reversed.”

(Host) The issue is also being played out at the U.S. Supreme Court. Vermont has joined a lawsuit that charges the Federal Environmental Protection Agency is negligent by failing to regulate carbon dioxide emissions.

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