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Energy and Environment

Environmentalists Criticize Coal Plant Provision

Opponents of a coal-fired power plant planned for southwest Kansas say that developers of the project still face obstacles in completing the work, despite legislation approved by the U.S. House.

Kansas congressman Tim Huelskamp inserted language into the House version of the farm bill that removed one level of federal oversight of the project. Hays-based Sunflower Electric Power Corp. wants to build a second coal-fired unit at its Holcomb power plant. Huelskamp represents the area where the plant would be built and has long supported its construction.

Three-fourths of the energy generated by the second unit would be reserved for Colorado-based Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association.

Huelskamp's language is not in the Senate's version of the bill, though he says Congress is moving closer to approving his efforts. Environmentalists said Tuesday the project still faces other obstacles from Kansas courts and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as new renewable energy standards imposed by Colorado on Tri-State.