Coal plant has overwhelming support from Garden City residents

GARDEN CITY — A controversial proposal for a new coal-fired electricity plant won overwhelming support from people who attended a public hearing in the western Kansas county where it would be built.

More than 100 people attended the hearing Thursday in Garden City, with nearly every speaker telling the Kansas Department of Health and Environment that they want the state to issue an air permit for construction of a Sunflower Electric Power Corp. project in Finney County.

Sunflower Electric wants to build an 895-megawatt plant to generate electricity, most of which would be used by Colorado-based Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association for out-of-state customers.

Supporters of the project say it would provide economic benefits, including 70 full-time jobs that could generate $5 million in annual wages.

Opponents argue that the increased production of carbon dioxide emissions from the coal would harm the state's health and environment and contribute to climate change.