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KANSANS, like West Virginians, pay much less than the national average for electric power. That's because they get most of their power from coal-fired plants.

But last fall, Rod Bremby, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, decided Kansas should not permit construction of two new coal-fired power plants. He blocked a permit for the $3.6 billion project.

Bremby's own staff had recommended approval of the project. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a fast-rising star in Democratic politics, opposed it. Charleston Daily Mail

KANSANS, like West Virginians, pay much less than the national average for electric power. That's because they get most of their power from coal-fired plants.

But last fall, Rod Bremby, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, decided Kansas should not permit construction of two new coal-fired power plants. He blocked a permit for the $3.6 billion project.

Bremby's own staff had recommended approval of the project. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a fast-rising star in Democratic politics, opposed it.

In the end, Bremby said it would have been "irresponsible" to ignore concerns about how emissions might be affecting the climate.

The state erupted in controversy, as well it should when it comes to the reliability of electric power.

"When you hear about China putting a new coal plant on line every week and so many other sources of pollution around, to try to single out one {project} as the magic bullet to offset the emissions of tens of thousands of other emissions producers doesn't make a lot of sense," said Steve Morris, president of the Kansas state Senate.

But as the Wall Street Journal reported on March 19: "Mr. Bremby's decision has delighted politicians in Washington who want to curb U.S. reliance on coal, the source of about half the country's electricity."

Early this month, Democrats called him to Washington to testify before a congressional committee on global warming.

There is a great deal at stake in this national election cycle - the reliability of energy, the health of the economy, tax policy, health care policy, etc.

West Virginians need to be careful about who they empower to make those decisions. The nation needs to make rational choices, not risk its own security on the basis of ill-considered notions.

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