On July 15, 2008, the District Court of Finney County, Kansas, dismissed two lawsuits filed by Sunflower Electric Power Corporation challenging the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's (KDHE's) denial of air quality permitting for two coal fired power plants because of potential harm to the environment and human health resulting from the proposed plants' carbon dioxide emissions.
The District Court ruled that it was without jurisdiction to hear the case because the Kansas statute cited by the KDHE in denying the permits required Sunflower to proceed with an original action in the Kansas Court of Appeals. Sunflower has already initiated parallel proceedings in the Court of Appeals, and its counsel stated that it had only filed the district court case because of ambiguity in the legal authority for the denial of permitting.
Nonetheless, the court's ruling may doom the proposed project. Sunflower representatives have previously stated that financing for the project would fail unless the Kansas legislature overrode the KDHE's ruling by June—and an attempt to do so was vetoed by Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius. Although Sunflower is also proceeding with litigation, it is unlikely to get a definitive ruling—i.e., one from the Kansas Supreme Court—before the end of this year's legislative session.