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Hays, Kan.-based Sunflower Electric Power Corp. has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, District of Kansas, against Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson and Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health & Environment Roderick Bremby, asking for injunctive relief related to the October 2007 denial of an air quality permit for the utility's power plant expansion.

The lawsuit asserts that the defendants, acting in their official capacity, have violated Sunflower's right to fair and equal treatment under the law and are unlawfully prohibiting interstate commerce. The case is the result of the denial of an air permit application for a power plant expansion at Sunflower's Holcomb Station in Finney County, Kan. The lawsuit asks that these three officials be stopped from preventing Sunflower from lawfully pursuing the expansion.

The governor and Parkinson have stated that the denial was proper because the majority of the power would be exported to other states. In March, Sebelius vetoed a bill that would have overturned a decision to deny a permit application to develop two new coal-fired power plants in the state.

"Denying the air permit on the basis that too much of the electricity would be exported impedes the right of Kansans to engage in interstate commerce, inhibiting our citizens' pursuit of prosperity and quality of life," says Earl Watkins, president and CEO of Sunflower. "In a time of economic downturn, it seems unconscionable that a project like this would be denied, since it creates 329 jobs earning more than $16 million in annual wages and fully complies with all state and federal requirements, while helping to secure our energy independence."

SOURCE: Sunflower Electric Power Corp.

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