Kansas utility's proposed coal plants caught in debate over co2

Topeka, Kan. _ A Kansas utility's plans for two coal-fired plants in Western Kansas are in trouble because of a debate about regulating carbon dioxide emissions and possible pollution in Oklahoma.

Sunflower Electric Power Corporation needs a permit from the state to begin construction on its 3.6 billion dollar project outside Holcomb in Southwest Kansas.  But the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has yet to approve the project 15 months after since the application was finalized.

The Director of the Environment Ron Hammerschmidt says both the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Interior are weighing into the debate.  Hammerschmidt said the Interior Department's concern is that pollutants from the new coal plants would affect visibility in the Wichita Mountains in Oklahoma.

The department plans to announce its decision this month.

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