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Stories focused on energy & environment topics throughout the state of Kansas.

Disagreement Delays Kansas Statehouse Power Plant Project

Stephen Koranda
KPR/File photo

Construction of a new energy center near the Kansas Statehouse has been delayed after lawmakers raised concerns about the plan. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the facility will provide heating and cooling to the Capitol and other state office buildings.

Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration reached a $20 million agreement to finance the project, but it was structured so it did not need approval from Kansas lawmakers. That rubbed some lawmakers the wrong way.

“I was furious that they took it upon themselves to go behind our backs," says Democratic Sen. Laura Kelly.

She says the cost of the project seems too high.

“There was a lot of stuff going on behind closed doors that we need to shine some light on,” Kelly says.

Republican Senate President Susan Wagle agrees that lawmakers should have been consulted.

Eileen Hawley, a spokeswoman for Governor Brownback, says they’re delaying the project while they provide additional information to lawmakers. She says the administration looks forward to finding a resolution.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and High Plains Radio covering health, education and politics.