The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Business

August 16, 2013

Sierra Club, KCP&L spar over 2007 agreement

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Sierra Club has notified Kansas City Power & Light that the environmental group believes the utility has failed to honor the agreement that ended a dispute over construction of a coal-fired plant in northwest Missouri.

KCP&L, however, says it has fulfilled all the requirements of the 2007 agreement, which stemmed from the utility’s Iatan 2 coal-fired plant in northern Platte County. In the pact, the Sierra Club agreed to drop a lawsuit seeking to block the plant, and KCP&L agreed to offset the plant’s pollution by using more renewable energy and getting customers to use less electricity.

Sierra Club attorney Holly Bressett told The Kansas City Star on Thursday that while KCP&L got the power plant, it has missed its goal for more renewable energy by nearly one third. She said the company has also failed to meet its energy efficiency goal.

In a letter to KCP&L this week, the Sierra Club said it would have no choice but to file a lawsuit to enforce the agreement but that it would wait 30 days to try to resolve the issue. The Sierra Club said in a separate notice to KCP&L that it also intends to file a lawsuit against the utility over clean-air violations at three of its older coal-fired plants in St. Joseph, Sibley and Kansas City.

“It’s discouraging to see KCP&L fall so woefully behind,” said Bressett, who also is a deputy director for the Sierra Club. “My question to KCP&L is: Where is the leadership?”

KCP&L spokesman Chuck Caisley said the company met the obligations in the 2007 pact and that the three other plants also met all clean-air requirements. He said the utility has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on wind energy and that the utility is prepared to continue its collaboration with the Sierra Club to resolve the disagreements.

“As far as we’re concerned, we have met the terms of the collaboration,” he said.

The Concerned Citizens of Platte County, which also oppose the Iatan plan and also signed the agreement with KCP&L, said in a statement Thursday that while the deal led to ground-breaking investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy for the area, KCP&L needs to see it through to completion and continue to diversify away from coal.

“We have held up our end of the bargain. They need to do the same,” said Debbie Woehrman, a spokeswoman for the group.

KCP&L serves more than 800,000 customers in northwestern Missouri and eastern Kansas counties, according to its website.

 

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