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What's the matter with Kansas? Nothing at all regarding wind power.  Thursday, the forces of light scored a major victory.

In Kansas.

Kansas, with its newly minted Republican supermajority in both houses of the state legislature, home of Koch Industries. Koch even sent a top lobbyist to work behind the scenes.

After Grover Norquist made a personal appeal.

On legislation drafted by ALEC (the American Legislative Exchance Council), with heavy infusions of cash from the Heartland Institute, the Koch-backed Americans For Prosperity, and the usual suspects.

Any win for renewable energy is good; this win, in the belly of the beast with all the forces of darkness ranged against it, is worth savoring.

Currently, Kansas must get 15 percent of its electricity from renewable fuels by 2016 and 20 percent by 2020. The Kansas Senate bill would have extended those deadlines to 2018 and 2024, and the Kansas House version would have dropped the 20 percent requirement entirely. With Governor Sam Brownback's backing, wind has become bipartisan: "The number of wind farms that came online from 2011 to 2012, after the passage of the RPS, nearly doubled Kansas’s installed wind capacity. The 19 wind farms operating in the state have created more than 12,300 jobs for Kansas citizens, $13.7 million in payments to landowners annually, and $10.4 million in contributions to communities each year."

Ultimately, the state house voted 63-59 to send the House bill back down to committee for further review, and the state senate rejected SB 82 by a 23-17 vote.

Moti Rieber, director of the Kansas Interfaith Power & Light and part of the Kansans for Clean Energy coalition, states: "This is the first time that this coalition of business, ag, enviro and energy folks has worked together so closely on an issue like this. We worked very well together and we were able to deliver hundreds of contacts with legislators about this issue from constituents. The fact that these measures were stymied in a legislature with Republican supermajorities in both houses shows that sensible energy policies can be supported on a bipartisan basis, despite the forces of ideology and money arrayed against them."

Wind turbines seem happy inanimate objects, laughing as they dance in the breeze. In Kansas, they're victorious.


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Originally posted to Climate Hawks on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 11:17 AM PST.

Also republished by American Legislative Transparency Project, Climate Change SOS, and DK GreenRoots.

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