Missouri-Kansas Becoming Green Rivals

John Davis

moksflags.jpgWhen you live in this part of the country, you KNOW how big of rivals Kansas and Missouri are. This hatred goes all the way back to before the Civil War! I’ve even known people who would actually spit after they spoke the other state’s name. Officials at MU and KU have tried to tone down the rhetoric by calling it a border “showdown” instead of border “war” (which most diehard fans still call a war). Pretty fascinating for an Iowa boy who didn’t grow up with this rivalry that has moved to the football fields and basketball courts of the two states.

Now, it seems Missouri and Kansas have become rivals about how green they want to be. This story from the Kansas City (MO) Star says there is lots of legislation on both sides of the border, including more than 20 green bills before the Missouri legislature this session:

In Missouri, the bills showing movement this year rely on tax policy as a prod to change consumer habits and business operations.

The House last week gave first-round approval to a bill granting a $2,000 income tax deduction for the purchase of hybrid vehicles manufactured in the United States.

In the Senate, language recently added to a large agriculture bill also addresses alternative-fuel vehicles. The bill includes not only a tax deduction for hybrid purchases, but also incentives for consumers who purchase 85-percent ethanol gasoline and gas-station owners who install alternative fuel facilities.

Plus, a 5 percent biodiesel mandate is making its way through the halls of the Capitol in Jefferson City.

Kansas lawmakers have put forward several green bills, but all are overshadowed by the key issue of the year: a coal-burning power plant expansion in western Kansas.

Both the Senate and the House have passed legislation designed to clear the way for Sunflower Electric Power Corp. to build two new coal plants at its existing Holcomb, Kan., plant…

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has vowed to veto the bill, saying it doesn’t do enough to encourage renewable energy or protect the environment.

To balance the coal plant bill, lawmakers inserted several provisions they hoped would curry favor with environmentalists.

They include:

•Standards to require most utilities to generate 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2012 and 20 percent by 2020.

•A proposal to allow those with solar panels on their homes to sell excess electricity back to their utilities.

•Incentives for landlords to invest in energy-efficient construction and air/heating systems.

•The creation of a new energy commission that will include both scientists and laypeople to study the state’s future energy needs and the role global climate change may play.

Biodiesel, Ethanol, Flex Fuel Vehicles, Government, Legislation, News