Out of touch: DC Court blocks Kansas coal plant

It’s hard to tell who’s stupider: Sunflower Electric Power’s attorneys or Federal District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan.

Judge Sullivan today enjoined, pending a full environmental review, the 895-megawatt expansion of Sunflower Electric’s coal-fired power plant in Holcomb, KS.

Judge Sullivan wrote:

… Sunflower’s main argument in opposition appears to be that emissions from the planned 894 MW generating unit “will be significantly below those of the average U.S. coal facility[.]”
Sunflower’s Supp. Br. at 20. In support of this assertion, Sunflower has submitted an affidavit of Scott Bloomberg, a consultant with expertise in “the electric sector, including new investment options (generation choice), environmental risk and compliance, climate policy, transmission, renewable portfolio standards and fuel markets.” Bloomberg Aff. ¶ 2. Sunflower also asserts that the Holcomb Expansion Project “has already undergone, and continues to undergo, extensive environmental review of its impact on the air, water, land, endangered species, and human health in order to obtain the various permits and approvals required to operate,” and that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has already evaluated the potential hazardous air pollutant output for the plant. Sunflower’s Supp. Br. at 20.

Even assuming Sunflower’s assertions to be true, neither adequately counters the declaration of Dr. Levy, which contains specific, detailed estimates of various pollutants that would be emitted by the Holcomb site and the resulting harms. Whether or not some other coal facility emits greater quantities of particulate matter or mercury, for example, has no bearing on whether or not there will be irreparable harm here. Although Sunflower does dispute plaintiff’s assertion that one coal facility will create a sufficient quantity of carbon dioxide emissions to have a measurable impact on the climate, Sunflower fails to offer any persuasive evidence that would counter plaintiff’s detailed submissions on other pollutants.7 Upon consideration of these submissions, as well as the other
affidavits and arguments put forward by the parties, the Court concludes that the plaintiff has demonstrated irreparable injury…

There is, of course, no evidence that emissions from any U.S. coal plant has harmed anyone.

This case is all about the Sierra Club’s mindless jihad against coal.

That the judge and lawyers couldn’t figure that out is quite a shame.

Click for the ruling.

3 thoughts on “Out of touch: DC Court blocks Kansas coal plant”

  1. If thorough Environmental Impact Statements are necessary, why is it that they are being dispensed with when it comes to windmills and sun farms? Even with actual large bird kills, the Fish and Wildlife people look the other way and most environmental groups either deny the slaughter or are mum. Roads are talked about when trying to stop logging but it’s fine to build them all around for the windmills and to build new transmission lines for them but not for coal fired plants. No one talks about how the shade under the panels affects the flora and fauna. The truth is that environmentalists no longer believe in multiple use management but in a war on all fossil fuels and in believing that the earth is perfect at the present time.

  2. A. Hearsay rule – has nothing to do with a hearing on whether to grant an injunction. This isn’t a trial.
    B. Marginal academics – Yes, Harvard routinely hires marginal academics. ROFL
    C. The EPA doesn’t need to “get” anyone to sue it.
    D. I fail to see any substantive disagreement — let alone evidence — presented to contest the facts presented or the conclusion drawn from them. Instead, all that is presented is a Glenn Beck style vast conspiracy.
    E. There is no precedent from an injunction ruling (at least none that binds anyone else in any other case).
    F. Administrative rule-making. What do apples have to do with the orange (a/k/a, an injunction order)?
    G. The court is “preoccupied” with the plant’s financial status because its financing in the basis for federal jurisdiction in this case. It is neither “unusual” nor “irrelevant.”

    The facts are simple. The law has long required an environmental impact statement whenever federal dollars are spent. Here, federal dollars are spent. Yet, there has never been such a study on the current proposal at issue. Ergo, nothing can proceed until there is one. The Parties “are largely in agreement” because there’s no real question about the facts.

    Instead, all you propose is an Alice in Wonderland approach of ‘sentence first, verdict later.’

  3. According to the court decision the “plaintiff relies upon the affidavits submitted in support of its motion for a preliminary injunction, particularly that of Dr. Jonathan Levy, an Associate Professor of Environmental Health and Risk Assessment at the Harvard School of Public Health.”

    What happened to the hearsay rule? Levy was not available for cross-examination, the very definition of the rule. And an *Associate* professor? That title is reserved for marginal academics.

    The court’s preoccupation with the power plants’ financial status is unusual and irrelevant.

    This, however, is telling: “At the outset, the Court notes that the plaintiff and the federal defendants are largely in agreement regarding the appropriate remedy.”

    This is typical of the EPA. When it wants a quick result, instead of emitting a new regulation, it gets some greenies like the Sierra Club to sue it, and then agrees with the greenies — or mounts a feeble defense. These things are brokered in advance.

    Bang! Instant legal precedent, no tedious administrative rule-making and review required.

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