For Immediate Release
September 28, 2007

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

KDHE Files Motion for Continuance in Sunflower Lawsuit

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has filed a motion for continuance with the Shawnee County District Court to delay the oral arguments scheduled for October 12, 2007, in the Sunflower Electric air quality permit litigation.

The motion was filed in response to the release of an opinion by Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison that opined that K.S.A 65-3012 allows the Secretary of KDHE to consider the effect of unregulated pollutants when granting an air quality permit if such pollutants constitute a substantial endangerment to the public health or environment.

The opinion also concluded that it would be questionable whether the statute would allow the Secretary to delay the issuance of a permit until state regulations are adopted addressing a particular pollutant.

KDHE filed the continuance in order to determine the application of the opinion and decide what impact, if any, it could have on the lawsuit.

“Because of the pending litigation, and the tremendous importance of this issue, we felt it was appropriate to seek an opinion from the Attorney General,” said Roderick L. Bremby, Secretary of KDHE. “This guidance will now be analyzed and deliberated throughout the remainder of the decision-making process.”

According to Kansas statue, the Department has 18 months to issue a decision on air quality permit applications from the time the completed application is submitted. Sunflower submitted the completed air quality permit application on June 1, 2006. A decision on the Sunflower permit must be announced by December 1, 2007.

KDHE plans to announce the decision on the Sunflower Electric air quality permit application at a media briefing within the next 30 days. The Department will give at least a 72-hour public notice prior to the briefing.