OPPOSITION: Sierra Club
BACKGROUND: In May 2005, Westar Energy announced plans to build an 850-megawatt coal plant in Kansas, although the site was not specified. However, in December 2006, Westar announced it was shelving the plant. Westar attributed the action to increased equipment and construction costs. In December 2008, Westar issued a “strategic plan” stating it was deferring a commitment to a new coal plant due to regulatory uncertainty (e.g. potential cap and trade requirements), construction costs potentially in excess of $2 billion, national opposition to coal plants, and unpredictable labor and material costs.
Westar noted that the reaction to its May 2005 announcement of a search for a potential site in Kansas was “generally supportive” and that “several areas of the (sic) Kansas enthusiastically sought to have a coal plant located in their vicinity.” However, as Westar stated, “Now, an announcement of a coal plant anywhere in the United States seems to attract vigorous opposition and intense scrutiny.” There is no evidence of any organized local opposition to this project. Instead, it appears the litigation policies of outside special interest groups had a chilling effect on the developer’s plans. Sierra Club generically opposed the proposed plant as part of its national anti-coal program, supposedly due to alleged increases in CO2 emissions. It claims the project’s cancellation as a “victory” on the Club’s “Stopping the Coal Rush” website.
LAST UPDATED: November 18, 2010