Share us:

Highlights From WEALTH Day 2018

1 year ago | Mar 20, 2018
Advocates Focus On Environmental Policy Issues At Capitol

WEALTH Day drew advocates and sponsor organizations to the Kansas Capitol on Thursday, March 15, for a day of environmental education and advocacy with legislators.

After the opening climate prayer vigil and policy briefing, activities moved to the first floor of the Capitol where sponsor booths filled the Rotunda. Advocates and sponsors were able to contribute their top three WEALTH policy priorities for the word cloud shown below!


dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:10pt;">

Advocates also were able to attend 30-minute dialog sessions highlighting policy related to the WEALTH topics: water, energy, air, land, transportation, and health.  

Water: Discussion panel members were Jessica Mounts of the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands & Streams, Sen. Marci Francisco (D-Lawrence), Dawn Buehler of Friends of the Kaw, and Brad Bradley of the Kansas Regional Advisory Committee for the Kansas River watershed. Discussion topics included the state water fund plan, water vision, algal blooms, and underground injection wells and their administration by the Kansas Corporation Commission.

Energy: Dorothy Barnett of the Climate + Energy Project and Rep. Jim Ward (D-Wichita) discussed net metering, electricity rate cases, and other clean energy policies that affect Kansans. They also contemplated the future of clean energy technology and how it could affect the Kansas economy and environment.

Air: Zack Pistora of the Kansas Sierra Club and Rep. Jim Karleskint (R-Tonganoxie) answered questions about current policy issues such as poultry plants, the Volkswagen settlement, and diesel emission mitigation and how they could affect air quality in Kansas.

Land: Paul Johnson of the Kansas Rural Center and Zack Pistora of Kansas Sierra Club led discussion of policies regarding noxious weeds, pesticide drift, earthquakes, and the Farm Bill.

Transportation: Sen. John Skubal (R-Overland Park) and Kelly Gilbert of Metropolitan Energy Center led policy discussions on electric vehicle charging equipment, alternative fuel corridors, smart roads, and the fuel tax as affected by proposed legislation this session.

Health: Rabbi Moti Rieber of Kansas Interfaith Action and Sen. Barbara Bollier (R-Mission Hills) outlined several policy issues that have implication for the health of Kansans. These include Medicaid expansion, the Clean Power Plan, and severe weather and other climate issues that affect health.

Thanks to the sponsors and advocates who made it a great day!  

Updates From The Clean Energy Business Council
A Senate vote is expected Wednesday, March 21, on Senate Concurrent Resolution 1612, which would urge the Kansas Corporation Commission to perform a comprehensive study of electricity rates and act within its statutory authority to reduce rates to regionally competitive levels.
If the KCC finds it does not have the authority to "promptly and effectively undertake an initiative to materially reduce retail electric rates,” the resolution urges the KCC to report that to the Legislature.
Kansas has the highest residential electricity rates in the region, above neighboring states and the national average, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, part of the U.S. Energy Department.
Testifying before the Senate Commerce Committee on behalf of the Clean Energy Business Council, Dorothy Barnett said: "One way Kansas could have mitigated some of the high cost of electricity was to have access to utility energy efficiency programs, like all of the other states in our region.”
Last year, KCP&L asked the KCC to approve a suite of energy efficiency programs for its Kansas customers, Barnett noted. While meeting cost-effectiveness testing in Missouri, the same programs were largely rejected by the KCC. This ruling denied Kansas customers the opportunity to utilize programs available across the state line. 
The Senate Commerce Committee has recommended that SCR 1612 be adopted.

Updates From The Kansas Rural Center 

The Climate + Energy Project is a sponsor of the weekly Policy Watch, produced by the Kansas Rural Center. Issues highlighted in the recent Policy Watch include:

Pesticide drift: The Kansas Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources committee is considering House Bill 2583, which would put the authority of adding/subtracting the state’s designated noxious weeds under the executive branch (Department of Agriculture), instead of the Legislature as current law holds.

Utility merger and electricity rates: As the Kansas Corporation Commission holds hearings on the merger of Westar and Kansas City Power & Light, a new commissioner will be named soon to replace Pat Apple on the three-member board. This selection will have implications for the merger decision and upcoming utility rate cases at a time when legislators are questioning why Kansas has some of the highest electricity costs in the region.

Read more in the latest Policy Watch from the Kansas Rural Center online.

Kansas WEALTH Policy, Civic Engagement, and You!

Catch up on WEALTH topics with our series of livestream videos on Climate + Energy Project’s Facebook page with guests from Kansas organizations.

Recent videos featured:

Watch other videos in the series and look for more Facebook livestream videos this spring on the CEP Facebook page!


Comments (0)

No comments yet!

Post a comment (Optional)
  • Allowed markup: <a> <i> <b> <em> <u> <s> <strong> <code> <pre> <p>
  • All other tags will be stripped, unless they are in a <pre> (use this for blocks of code)
  • External links will have the rel="nofollow" attribute applied