Sunflower Can't Expand Without Coal Plants: CEO

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A utility's top executive is telling legislators that it can't afford to expand unless it builds two coal-fired power plants in southwest Kansas.

Sunflower Electric Power Corp.'s Earl Watkins Jr. said building two plants involves out-of-state investors, whose fees help pay for the generating capacity Sunflower needs.

He said people who want to block any new coal-fired plant aren't taking Kansans' power needs into account.

Watkins testified Monday before the House Energy and Utilities Committee on legislation that would allow Sunflower to build the two plants outside Holcomb.

But environmentalists criticized the legislation before the hearing began, saying it would tie the state's future to old, polluting technology.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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