The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) announced yesterday that it has denied the air quality permit request made by Sunflower Electric Power Corporation for two proposed coal-fired 700-megawatt generators, in a move geared towards protecting the “public health and environment from actual, threatened or potential harm from air pollution.” The agency characterized its decision as a “first step in emerging policy to address existing and future carbon dioxide emissions in Kansas” and as consistent with initiatives currently underway in other states. The expanded Sunflower plant was expected to release approximately 11 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. Environmental groups had previously filed a lawsuit challenging Sunflower's plans, one of the first filed on the heels of the Supreme Court's April 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA.