Power Fight Spreads To Kansas


Harvard owns stock in power companies serving over half of the 50 states and many of them are presently hard at work planning to increase their power outputs by building larger and larger coal and nuclear-powered plants.

This week another of the companies in which Harvard has a substantial interest was brought to court by a grass-roots group of citizens who oppose its plans for a new power plant.

Thirty-five Kansas farmers, calling themselves the Concerned Citizens United, Inc. (CCU), are attempting to prevent the Kansas Power and Light Co. from constructing a 2800 megawatt coal-burning power plant near St. Mary's, Kansas.

CCU has done its homework well in its effort to keep KP&L from getting the land needed for the plant by eminent domain. The group has prepared a 51-page briefing for the Pottawatomie County District Court which must decide soon whether to issue an injunction preventing KP&L from taking the farmers' land.

The extensive brief argues against KP&L's right to eminent domain on the grounds that: the need for a 2800 megawatt plant in Kansas has been contested by several independent studies; no adequate studies of the environmental effects of the plant have yet been made; the land is zoned for agriculture and KP&L has refused to appear before the Pettawatomie County Zoning Board to attempt to have it rezoned; and, KP&L has not adequately explained the need for acquiring 12,800 acres of land for the plant, when other similar plants have been built on less than 2000 acres.


Also: KP&L has not replied to a July request from the Army Corps of Engineers that it apply for a permit to pump water from the Kansas River to their plant five miles away; the Environmental Protection Agency and the Bureau of Mines have questioned KP&L's estimate of the sulfur content of the coal for the plant; and, KP&L's own estimate that the plant will burn 1600 tons of coal per hour, take and never return over one-third of the volume of water in the Kansas River, and dump 60,000 tons of sulfur dioxide into the air.

KP&L has managed to get favorable treatment from the courts and the local press thus far, but this may have to change some in the coming weeks. Students and organizers around the state have started to wake up to the many problems which CCU has found in LP&L's plans and they are initiating efforts to counter KP&L's massive publicity campaigns.

In a sworn affidavit, a Kansas State University biologist told the court this week that a study he made for KP&L last spring was only intended as a description of the plant site. KP&L has said that the biologist. Richard Marzov. did a comprehensive environmental impact report of the planned power plant.

Harvard may not have a direct role to play in all of these happenings way out in Kansas, but if the major stockholders in KP&L don't take some responsibility in the working of the company who will?

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