by guest writer, Lowell Bliss
The next time you hope for some plain-speaking legislation to come out of your state legislature, you may want to take a moment and be careful what you wish for. This is the story of three environmental bills recently introduced in the Kansas statehouse. I live in Kansas. We’re generally known for being plain-spoken.
Our governor Sam Brownback says he has an “All of the Above” energy policy. I do not consider that plain-speaking any more than when President Obama uses the same phrase. “All of the above” means that an executive can throw a sop to renewable energies without threatening the continued exploitation of fossil fuels. And thus we have our first bill, House Bill 2241, which wants to give our state utility companies a break on the Renewable Portfolio Standard. They will no longer have to get a certain percentage of their energy requirements from renewables by the original deadlines – 10% by 2010, 15% by 2016 and 20% by 2020. Surely these deadlines aren’t onerous for America’s second windiest state. Even our name is a Native American term for “People of the South Wind.” The bill also grants vague exemptions for “firm transmission” (i.e. standards don’t go in effect if there aren’t transmission lines available) and “excessive costs.” There were a couple of occasions last summer when the nation of Germany reached the 50% mark in obtaining its electricity from renewables. Germans are the largest ethnicity designation of Kansas citizens. Perhaps we could take some inspiration from the Old Country. Continue reading