Sunflower Electric permit

Kansas hasn't imposed strict enough emissions control limits on an 895 MW coal-fired power plant under construction, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The $2.8 billion project is operated by Sunflower Electric Power Corp. and located in the southwest part of the state.

The EPA first questioned parts of a Kansas Department of Health and Environment air-quality permit issued in December, which allowed construction of the plant. The utility is building the plant next to an existing coal-fired plant outside the city of Holcomb.

The EPA's regional office in Kansas City, Mo., released a letter on Feb. 4 from Administrator Karl Brooks to KDHE Secretary Robert Moser, seeking "dialogue" about the air-quality permit. The letter says the EPA finds the permit's limits on emissions of NOx and SO2 too loose.

EPA spokesman David Bryan said the state and the federal agency disagree over whether Sunflower's permit must follow tougher emissions rules issued by EPA last year. The federal agency wants Kansas to impose per-hour limits on the two pollutants, rather than 30-day averages.

Sunflower supplies power for about 400,000 Kansas residents. Three-quarters of the new plant’s 895 MW capacity, or 695 MW, would be reserved for a Sunflower partner, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association Inc., of Westminster, Colo., which has caused opposition among Kansas state legislators.

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