Appeals court rejects process for KCP&L plant approval
Kansas City Business Journal - 1:10 PM CST Wednesday, February 28, 2007
The Sierra Club won an appeals court victory in its opposition to construction of Kansas City Power & Light Co.'s new 850-megawatt coal-fired power plant near Weston.
On Tuesday, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District reversed an action by the Missouri Public Service Commission on Aug. 23, 2005, approving KCP&L's plan for building the plant, called Iatan 2. KCP&L is a subsidiary of Kansas City-based Great Plains Energy Inc. (NYSE: GXP).
In its ruling, the court said the PSC exceeded its legal authority with the process it created to approve the plant.
"The statutory framework, set forth by the legislature, for obtaining permission to build a new electric plant and increasing rates must be followed," the court said in the ruling.
KCP&L spokesman Tom Robinson said the company is reviewing its options after the court's ruling. The ruling does not require KCP&L to stop construction on Iatan 2, he said.
"Today's decision is a victory for open government, ratepayers and the environment," Melissa Hope, a spokeswoman for Missouri Sierra Club, said in a release. "KCP&L tried to do something outside of the public process to gain approval to build an expensive and dirty coal-burning power plant. That process denied the public the opportunity to participate fully and allowed them to ram through massive rate hikes primarily to pay for their new coal-burning power plant."
Hope said Wednesday that the court's ruling could invalidate a number of proposed KCP&L rate increases intended to help pay for the plant.
The plant is scheduled to be in service for the summer of 2010.