At the local level.  Keeping his eye on the prize, Kansas’s new Democrat governor approves coal-fired power plant:

TOPEKA-In a stunning reversal from his predecessor, Gov. Mark Parkinson on Monday signed an agreement ending a two-year fight over plans to build coal-fired power plants in western Kansas.

The compromise allows Sunflower Electric Power Corp. to build one 895-megawatt coal-fired power plant near Holcomb, instead of two 700-megawatt plants that were repeatedly blocked by Kathleen Sebelius when she was governor.

In exchange for the go-ahead, Sunflower will build more wind turbines and agree to more pollution controls and a greater investment in energy efficiency.

…Parkinson said he reached out to Sunflower soon after he was sworn in to replace Sebelius a week ago. He explained that he was frustrated by the political stalemate that saw the coal issue derailing efforts to encourage renewable energy. He said a little coal and a lot of environmental legislation was better than nothing.

Political calculation played a part:

O’Neal said Parkinson may have realized that lawmakers were close to overriding Sebelius’ veto of legislation to resurrect the plants.

“We felt like the momentum was finally moving in our direction,” he said.

Good for electricity consumers in Kansas and the environment, too.

Berkeley voters waking up to the costs of going green:

After two years of public outreach and debate on an ambitious and controversial plan to curb global warming, Berkeley’s city council this week was forced to water down the proposal — which initially required an energy audit of every home — after angry homeowners complained the plan could cost them tens of thousands of dollars.

Experts say Berkeley’s retreat may serve as a cautionary lesson to other cities and counties contemplating plans to fight global warming: Even residents of the nation’s most liberal jurisdictions may balk when it comes to paying the price of going green.

“I think we can expect to see episodes like the controversy over mandates in the plan more and more, because environmental and political leaders haven’t been responsible about the costs of climate stabilization,” said Michael O’Hare, professor of public policy at the University of California-Berkeley. ”If you don’t level with the public about the first part, it’s not surprising when people balk at climate policy that requires them to do some heavy lifting.”

Durango, Colorado, decides jobs are more important than using more expensive windpower:

For two years, the city of Durango, Colo., bought electricity for all its government buildings from wind farms. The City Council ended that program this year, reverting to electricity derived from coal-burning plants and saving the cash-strapped city about $45,000.

“It’s very hard for us to lay off an employee to justify green power,” City Manager Ron LeBlanc said. “Those are the tradeoffs you have to face.”

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