Sunflower’s new Power Plant still in limbo

(AP) — A $2.8 billion coal-fired electric plant remains in limbo as political and legal hurdles prevent the southwest Kansas project from moving forward.

Sunflower's Holcomb plant

Sunflower’s Holcomb plant

Sunflower Electric Power Corp. based in Hays received a state permit to build its 895-megawatt generating station in 2010. But state and federal lawsuits filed by interests seeking to block expansion of the state’s coal footprint have stymied progress.

A federal appeals court in May rejected a Sunflower request to overturn a 2012 federal judge’s ruling that required a full environmental review before the project can be considered for approval.

Sunflower spokeswoman Cindy Hertel told Hays Post the company is still reviewing the decision. Because the decision directing the Rural Utilities Service to do a study didn’t amount to a final order, the appeals-court panel said it didn’t have the jurisdiction under federal law to hear an appeal.

Three-quarters of the electricity produced by the Holcomb plant would be shipped to a cooperative in Colorado. Sunflower officials say selling the electricity would help keep rates down for the utility’s Kansas customers.