Kansas gov again vetoes bill supporting coal plant

OVERLAND PARK, Kansas (Reuters) - A standoff over coal-fired energy in Kansas continued Thursday as Gov. Kathleen Sebelius vetoed a bill designed to push through a controversial coal project that a state regulator has said could contribute to global warming.

Sebelius, a Democrat, vetoed a similar bill last month put together by a Republican group of lawmakers on behalf of Sunflower Electric Power Corp, which wants to add two 700-megawatt units at a facility in western Kansas.

The measure also would have stripped Kansas Secretary of Health and Environment Rod Bremby of some of his authority. Last year, Bremby denied an air quality permit for Sunflower’s $3.6 billion project, saying that carbon dioxide emissions from the coal-fired units would contribute to global warming.

Gov. Sebelius said business and environmental groups should forge a compromise, and she has issued an executive order creating an energy and environmental policy advisory group on how to reduce Kansas’ greenhouse gas emissions.

“Rather than working toward a compromise solution or having any conversation about energy policy, this bill was drafted behind closed doors,” Sebelius said in a statement. “It contains the same onerous elements of the previous bill that I vetoed; and again, these are elements I cannot accept and will not support.”

Reporting by Carey Gillam; Editing by Marguerita Choy