Sunflower Power President's "No Fuel Bias" Questionable in Kansas

Sunflower Power President's "No Fuel Bias" Questionable in Kansas
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The tangled web of rhetoric and PR spin is being tightly wove as the Kansas coal plant fight continues.

Case in point, Earl Watkins Jr. is the President and CEO of Sunflower Electric Power Corporation, the company who recently lost its bid to build two new coal plants in Kansas and he’s been making the rounds in the State Legislator trying to convince politicians that his company, “… has no fuel bias, meaning they’re doing what provides the best fuel supply at the best price.”

Watkin’s “no fuel bias” is a little hard to believe when the same Earl Watkins Jr. sits on the Board of Directors of the Western Fuels Association, a cooperative business that supplies 17 million tons of coal to electric generating plants across the United States.

Its even harder to swallow Watkin’s spin with release of a new report by financial research firm Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, finding that natural gas generation might actually be more cost-effective given impending federal greenhouse gas regulations.

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius vetoed a Bill on Friday, March 21, 2008 that would have overturned the earlier decision by the government to not approve the construction of two new coal-fired electric plants. The application, submitted by Sunflower, was turned down due to concerns over the increase of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions that are the cause of global warming.

But the fight to keep new coal out of Kansas isn’t over yet.

The Kansas House Energy and Utilities Committee has already drafted a new Bill for consideration that looks a lot like the last Bill. Proponents are hoping that the slight green tinge on this new Bill will be enough to pass it by a two-thirds majority in the House, thus making it veto-proof.

Sunflower Power President's "No Fuel Bias" Questionable in Kansas

Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmogBlog.

He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning.

Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks.

Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder.

Prior to DeSmogBlog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health.

In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications.

Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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