There is a debate heating up in Kansas about the proposed expansion of the Holcomb Station coal-fired power plant. Proponents of Sunflower Electric Power’s plant expansion cite the need to meet the growing load requirement in the region. Opponents argue that Kansas has the nation’s second-best wind resource and that in the long run, renewable energy can meet energy requirements at lower cost to rate payers and to the environment.

The Kansas Department of Health & Environment’s (KDHE) has hosted three public hearings this week to listen to the voices of Kansans. The public commenting remains open through August 15th (unless it is extended).

Working Films will host two special screenings of the Center for Investigative Reporting’s documentary Dirty Business: “Clean Coal” and the Battle for Our Energy Future in Lawrence and Wichita. The film will play on Monday, August 9th at 7pm Lawrence Arts Center and is co-hosted by Films For Action.  It will then play in Wichita on Wednesday, August 11th at 7pm at the Murdock Theatre. Both screenings are free and open to the public.

Dirty Business actually covered the Elk River Wind Project in Kansas, where Pete Ferrell is one of four landowners leasing the land for the wind mills. He will be part of the post-screening discussions.

Also part of the Q&A afterwards includes Scott Allegrucci of The Great Plains Alliance for Clean Energy (GPACE) and Stephanie Cole of Sierra Club Kansas. The discussion will include ideas on how the audience can submit their comments to KDHE before the commenting period is closed on August 15th. The KDHE public commenting process is likely to be the last opportunity to have your voice heard regarding the proposed coal plant and perhaps the best opportunity to influence the state’s – and the nation’s – energy policy.

Is your community having a similar debate? Dirty Business will be available for house parties and community screenings in September. Stay tuned!

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