Kansas plunges into ‘coal wars’

An advocacy group financed by a natural gas company has reported spending nearly $406,000 on an anti-coal advertising campaign last year.

Know Your Power was required to file a report on what it spent on full-page ads urging readers to call their legislators 'and let them know where you stand.' After the state ethics commission issued that ruling, the group filed its report.
The ads were a response to ads by another group, Kansans for Affordable Energy, which placed two in more than 20 newspapers statewide after a state regulator's decision blocking the construction of two coal-fired plants in southwest Kansas, the AP reports.

Kansans for Affordable Energy (KAE) was set up in mid-October, 2007 by a group of Kansas businessmen in reaction to the Kanasas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), denying the air quality permit for the two proposed 700-megawatt generators at the Sunflower Electric Power Corporation.

The two local Garden City businessmen, Bob Kreutzer and John Doll, who formed the Kansans For Affordable Energy stated that they he hoped KAE could present "the rest of the story" when it comes to using coal as a base load energy supply for the area and nation.

The KAE ran a series of print ads in early November, 2007 accusing Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of helping Iran, Venezuela and Russia.

“Why are these men smiling?” the full-page ad asks below photos of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Because the recent decision by the Sebelius Administration means Kansas will import more natural gas from countries like Russia, Venezuela and Iran,” the ad states.

The ads were paid for by Sunflower Electric Power Corporation and Peabody Coal.

Vic Svec, Peabody’s senior vice president for investor relations and communications, defended the ads stating:

“We are pleased to support the message behind Kansans for Affordable Energy, which is that we can choose inexpensive U.S. energy sources such as clean coal, or we can jeopardize our future from risky foreign sources. Experts agree that increased natural gas use will come from imports. The global energy markets are interconnected. Russia, Iran and Venezuela combined control nearly half of the world’s gas reserves… and do not have Kansas’ best interests at heart. To assume America can repeat the import philosophy on natural gas that it has pursued for decades in oil is to ignore the new political, economic and geologic realities of the world. We need all forms of energy, including America’s most abundant source.”

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Author`s name Angela Antonova