Coal, Emissions, Policy & Regulations

Kansas again issues controversial Holcomb air permit

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) on May 30 issued the air quality permit addendum for the proposed 895-MW coal-fired unit at Sunflower Electric Corp.’s existing coal-fired plant near Holcomb.

“KDHE has done its due diligence to ensure this plant will deliver clean power to Kansans within current emission limits,” said Gov. Sam Brownback. “The issuance of this permit addendum also ensures new job creation in Holcomb and Southwest Kansas.”

KDHE originally granted the air quality permit to Sunflower Electric in December 2010. After the permit was challenged, the Kansas Supreme Court reviewed the original decision and asked for KDHE to address two issues; the federal regulations establishing 1-hour NO2 and SO2 National Ambient Air Quality Standards; and apply new Hazardous Air Pollutant emission limits to the steam generator.

“This permit is in compliance with all current state and federal laws, and addresses all issues brought forth by the Kansas Supreme Court,” said KDHE Secretary Robert Moser. “After many months of agency staff reviewing the addendum made to the original permit application, and working with various stakeholders, KDHE has decided to issue an air quality permit addendum to Sunflower Electric Corporation.”

At one point years ago, two new coal units had been planned. But that was whittled down to one in a compromise over air emissions, but even the remaining unit has provoked years of controversy and bitter court battles. The new unit, officially called Unit 2, would burn subbituminous coal out of the Powder River Basin and potentially some bituminous coal, as well.

This article was republished with permission from GenerationHub.