Environmentalists are asking federal officials to move quickly to block Kansas from issuing an air-quality permit to a new coal-fired power plant before new rules on greenhouse gas emissions take effect next year.


Environmentalists are asking federal officials to move quickly to block Kansas from issuing an air-quality permit to a new coal-fired power plant before new rules on greenhouse gas emissions take effect next year.

The state Department of Health and Environment hopes to decide whether to issue the permit by the end of the year to Sunflower Electric Power Corp. for its plant in southwest Kansas.

A Sierra Club spokeswoman said Tuesday it's not enough time for the department to fully consider comments about Sunflower's $2.8 billion project outside Holcomb, in Finney County.

Earthjustice, a Seattle-based law firm representing Sierra Club, sent a letter Monday to Karl Brooks, the Environmental Protection Agency's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. The letter asked Brooks to have the EPA "play a more active role" in the state's permitting process.

The Sierra Club wants the EPA to require the state agency to lengthen the time it takes comments about Sunflower's project and require a thorough review and response by KDHE to those comments.

"We are skeptical that they can adequately review and respond to all public comments by the end of the year," Sierra Club spokeswoman Stephanie Cole said Tuesday. "It's not something that should be rushed."