Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback on May 28 signed into law the legislatively-passed HB 2233, which provides the secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment with the authority to consider the costs to ratepayers when developing a compliance plan under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.
That plan, unveiled last year by EPA and due to made final this summer, calls for 30% greenhouse gas emissions reductions from existing power plants by 2030. Brownback is a Republican, the state legislature is dominated by Republicans and this bill is seen as their attempt to try and thwart the EPA’s efforts on the Clean Power Plan. Whether the bill would have much legal weight is debatable.
HB 2233 says: “The United States environmental protection agency has proposed a carbon dioxide emission standard that requires the state of Kansas to comply with a state-wide emission standard rather than requiring individual utilities to meet a specific emission standard on a generating unit basis. In determining a carbon dioxide emission standard for Kansas, the environmental protection agency has elected to require states to re-dispatch coal-fired electric generating units to natural gas-fired combined cycle generation units and renewable generating resources as well as the use of energy efficiency and demandside management resources. Because the environmental protection agency’s approach to setting a carbon dioxide emission standard crosses jurisdictional authorities, and due to the complexity of re-dispatching the integrated electric system in the state of Kansas while maintaining reliable electric service and reasonable electric rates for ratepayers, both the Kansas department of health and environment and the state corporation commission will need to provide their respective expertise in order to efficiently and effectively develop a costeffective and reliable compliance plan. This act shall be called the Kansas electric ratepayer protection act.”
Under the Clean Power Plan, the secretary may develop and submit to EPA a state plan for compliance with the regulation of carbon dioxide from any affected or existing electric generating units. The bill says that the secretary may establish separate standards of performance for carbon dioxide emissions based upon: the best system of emission reduction that has been adequately demonstrated while considering the cost of achieving such reduction; reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide that can reasonably be achieved through measures taken at each electric generating unit; and efficiency improvements to any affected electric generating unit and other measures that can be undertaken at each electric generating unit to reduce carbon dioxide emissions without any requirements for fuel switching, co-firing with other fuels or limiting the utilization of the unit.