April 2015 Newsletter

Legislative Recap  

For the fourth year in a row, American's for Prosperity, the Kansas Chamber and Koch Industry promoted an anti-clean energy agenda at the Kansas Statehouse.


Despite strong support for clean energy from Kansans (our poll shows 91% support renewable energy), Governor Brownback, and a bipartisan coalition of legislators who have voted repeatedly to keep the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) strong, the House Energy & Environment and Senate Utilities committees spent the majority of the 2015 legislative session focused on bills (HB 2233 and SB 151) to provide additional oversight of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's response to the Clean Power Plan. Both committees held multi-day hearings to repeal the successful Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).


Only HB 2233 made it out of committee and was further amended by the Senate. During the last days of the regular session, Chairman Hedke began to reference a compromise and neither House or Senate committee worked their RPS repeal bills to send them to the House or Senate floor before the end of the regular session.


This would seem to be good news - unfortunately it isn't.  While the energy committees were debating the RPS, House Taxation held a hearing to add an excise tax to solar, wind and ethanol. Senate Assessment and Taxation along with House Taxation both held hearings to limit renewable energy's property tax exemption. Although these bills were not worked in committee, they are an obvious attempt to squash the clean energy economy in Kansas.


This multi-faceted attack on renewable energy is unprecedented and clean energy supporters must stand up and say We Support Renewable Energy!


Legislators are now on break until the 'Veto Session' begins on April 29th. Veto session is traditionally dedicated to addressing bills approved or vetoed by the Governor and working on the state budget.


However, this year, there are a number of issues still waiting to be wrapped-up. In the short time left, many items remain on the to-do list.  We fully expect to see many of the idle bills regarding renewables to come alive during the veto session and be pushed forward.


Please continue to speak out, join us at the Capitol, write letters to the editor, attend legislator's home town meetings, make phone calls, and use social media with the singular message: We Support Renewable Energy!

>>Read more Legislative Updates here

From the Executive Director   

CEP has lots to be thankful for this spring. Rachel Myslivy received the well-deserved KACEE 2015 Excellence in Conservation and Environmental Education for Community/Non-Profit and will present two sessions at this year's National Adaptation Forum in St. Louis. Rachel was selected from hundreds of submissions and we are very proud of her. 


Next week, I'll head to San Francisco for the Council on Foundations Annual gathering where I'll present "Boots on the Ground: Community Action with Global Impact" moderated by David Gordon from the Goldman Environmental Foundation. As mentioned in our lead article, we'll head back to the Legislature on April 29th to defend the RPS and encourage legislators to stop the attacks on clean energy. This spring and summer, you'll have an opportunity to weigh in on KCP&L and Westar Energy's rate cases before the Kansas Corporation Commission - both dockets include raising your monthly fixed charge.


Check our Facebook page regularly and follow us on Twitter to keep up to date on clean energy in Kansas!

WEP Update: Living Acres Network 

Networking for soil health

The Living Acres Network (LAN) is a group of farmers in western Kansas working together to improve soil health and conserve water with no-till and cover crops. The group united to better understand soil health, no-till, and cover crops by sharing experiences and resources.  While you often hear that you can't grow covers in western KS, the LAN is having great success, saving water and energy, improving soil health, improving water quality, and much more!

Living Acres Network:  Cover Crops in Western Kansas

Producers in the Living Acres Network have improved soil health, water retention and infiltration, and saved tremendous amounts of energy.  Embracing the mission to build healthier soils for the future, a steering committee of five directs the group: Darrell Kaiser, Daniel Schultz, Larry Manhart, John Niswonger, Darold Zimmerman,  along with NRCS District Conservationist, Tanya Allemang. The group's collaborative approach to on-farm research presents a promising path to the future.  

Collaboration & Progress
Collaboration & Progress


Steering Committee member, Larry Manhart explains,


"Because it takes such a long time to improve your  soil health, you can't stop at one little hiccup.  With us being able to share ideas, I think it's a very good way for us to narrow that timeframe down. If we all do this together, we can just accelerate this so fast."


Living Acres Network:  Soil, Water, and Energy


>>Read more about the Living Acres Network today!  


How can prescribed burning save water and energy, improve air and water quality and soil health?  Bill Sproul's case study will answer those questions and more.  You won't want to miss this innovative example of responsible stewardship of soil, water, energy, and grassland communities!  

LegsLegislative Updates (cont.)

What happened in the legislature?


Bills to end the Renewable Portfolio Standards (HB 2373 and SB 253) had multiple-day hearings. HB 2373 and SB 253 were never worked or voted on in committee. These bills appear to be idle/inactive, but we foresee these bills or similar ones worked during veto-session.


HB 2396 / SB 257 proposes a ten-year limit on property tax exemption for renewable resources. During the hearing, many voiced concern for those counties that are/will host(ing) wind farms and are/will benefit(ting) from PILOT payments since this bill would likely void those contracts. These bills were not worked or voted on in committee, but we foresee action on them during veto session.

HB 2401 imposes an excise tax on ethanol production and electricity generated by renewable resources. The hearing on this bill had 1 proponent and 28 opponents. The testimonies should have been enough to oppose the bill, but we expect the house to work it during veto-session since no further action has been taken on it yet.

Clean Power Plan

Bills to ensure the Kansas Corporation Commission  & Kansas Department of Health & Environment work together on a state plan for the Clean Power Plan were proposed in the House and Senate. HB 2233 passed the House (amended bill) and was amended in the Senate. That's as far as it got before the session ended. During veto session, HB 2233 would have to pass the Senate floor as amended and approved by the House (since it was amended) before moving on to the Governor's desk. The same bill proposed on the Senate side, SB 151, sat idle with only a hearing in committee (amended version). It is doubtful action will be taken on that bill since the House bill seems to be moving along.

A bill (SB 170) inhibiting Kansas from writing a state plan for  the Clean Power Plan (referred to as the RASP act by ALEC) did pass the committee, but was not not discussed on Senate floor. We could see action on this bill during the veto session.

*If a bill does not pass the House and Senate (or not signed by the Governor) before the end of the veto session, it is a dead bill. Legislators or proponents would have to reintroduce the bill next session in 2016.

Upcoming Events
Kansas Women's Environmental Network Second Anniversary Celebration

Tuesday, April 21, 6:30-8:30 pm, White Schoolhouse, Lawrence, Kansas 

The Kansas Women's Environmental Network connects, inspires, and empowers environmentally minded women. Join in the fun to celebrate KWEN's two year anniversary! In addition to networking and celebrating another year together, KWEN will be unveiling new membership structure and introducing the new KWEN Co-Chairs and Leadership. CEP Program Director, Rachel Myslivy will be thanked for her two years of service as co-founder and co-chair.  For more information about this event, email


Dedication of Midwest Energy's Community Solar Array 

April 23, 10:00 AM at the array - Veteran's Memorial Drive, Colby, KS  
Midwest Energy's 1.2-megawatt (DC) community solar array, the largest photovoltaic array in Kansas, entered service Feb. 1, and began generating electricity to the grid.  More than half of the array's panels have already been purchased, which shows there is strong demand for this solution.  Celebrate this great success for solar power in Kansas at the dedication ceremony.  For more information, see:


Years of Living Dangerously film screening at KSU

Thursday, April 23, 1:30pm, Fiedler Auditorium, College of Engineering Computing Services, 30 Seaton Hall, KSU, Manhattan, KS 66506

CEP in conjunction with KSU's Students for Environmental Action is hosting a screening of the sixth segment, "Against the Wind", on Thursday, April 23rd at 1:30 pm at Kansas State University. This segment features Kansas rancher, Pete Ferrell. Ferrell's ranch in south-central Kansas is also home to one of the state's first wind farms, the Elk River Wind Farm.The screening is presented at no charge.   


National Adaptation Forum: Action today for a better tomorrow

May 12-14, St. Louis, Missouri

The National Adaptation Forum is a biennial gathering created by a group of professionals from the private and public sectors concerned about the need to respond to and prepare for the effects of climate change.  The Forum represents a collective effort to enhance the resilience of the Nation's communities, resources and economy in the face of a changing climate.


CEP Program Director, Rachel Myslivy, will present two sessions: one about Water + Energy Progress and another discussing faith-based activism at the 2015 National Adaptation Forum.  See the draft program here.


Lawrence Green Drinks

May 20, 5-7 pm, Merchants Pub & Plate, 746 Massachusetts St., Lawrence, Kansas

Green Drinks is a global network for people who work, study, volunteer, and are interested in the environmental field. Lawrence, KS Green Drinks is organized by the Kansas Women's Environmental Network and meets on the third Wednesday of each month from 5-7 p.m. Gatherings are always agenda free and in Lawrence, KS.  Come as you can!

Dialog on Sustainability 

Saturday, July 18, KSU, Manhattan, Kansas

This year's Dialog on Sustainability will include presentations "Educating Leaders for Sustainable Development." This is a draft program and is subject to change. More details to come. For more information contact Larry E. Erickson, (785) 532-4313 or Sheree Walsh,, (785)-532-6519  


In The Blog
 Intern, Gina Beebe, shares her thoughts on CEP and how their philosiphy during her internship. 

Videos showcase climate solutions from farmers and ranchers of Kansas

We need new solutions to adapt to a changing climate.   Water + Energy Progress showcases exactly the kinds of solutions we need in Kansas by leaders in the agricultural community.  Watch a few videos to see for yourself!

Published April 7, 2015                                                     >>Read Blog

Happy Easter
Remember this Easter season to be kind, forgiving, and thankful. 
Published March 31, 2015                                               >>Read Blog 

Why Should I Care?  
An update on KS state policy and why you should care.

CEP in the News
Energy Updates
About Climate + Energy Project
Practical solutions for a clean energy future.


The Climate + Energy Project (CEP) is a non-partisan 501c(3) organization working to reduce emissions through greater energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy. Located in America's Heartland, CEP collaborates with diverse partners across the nation to find practical solutions for a clean energy future that provides jobs, prosperity and energy security.

For more information please contact Dorothy Barnett, Executive Director of the Climate + Energy Project, by calling (785) 424-0444 or emailing
In This Issue
Lead Article: Legislative Recap
From the ED: Spring Thankfuls
WEP Update: Networking for soil health and patch burn grazing management
Upcoming Events
In The Blog
CEP in the News
Energy Updates

     Congratulations to CEP's program director, Rachel Myslivy, for being awarded KACEE's 2015 Excellence in Conservation and Environmental Education for Community/Non-Profit!

We are very proud of you!  


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