A problem power plant south of Kansas City that has caused considerable controversy might be spared by the legislature. The House has voted in favor of Aquila even though the representatives closest to that plant urge it not to.
Aquila, the Kansas City utility, built a $140 million power plant near Peculiar in 2005 without getting approval from Cass County. The State Public Service Commission approved construction a year later, but the courts ruled that came too late and that the plant must come down. The House has given preliminary approval to a bill that effectively overrules that court decision.
Rep. Luke Scavuzzo (D-Harrisonville) argued during House floor debate that Aquila doesn’t deserve the break, "because I do not feel they have been forthright with the people of my district, the citizens of Peculiar and the people of Cass County."
Scavuzzo lives in the district as does Rep. Brian Baker (R-Belton). Baker pointed out during flood debate that Aquila lost this battle in the courts twice. He said the proposal tells those who filed suit against the utility and won that the rule of law doesn’t matter.
Two other state representatives have a piece of Cass County in their district. Rep. Mike McGhee (R-Odessa) also voted against the measure. McGhee represents a sliver of the county. Rep. Shannon Cooper (R-Clinton) represents the southern portion of Cass County. Cooper voted in favor, reasoning that it doesn’t make sense to tear down a power plant already in production.
That was the argument of Rep. Shane Schoeller (R-Willard) who sponsored the portion of HCS HB 2279 dealing with the Aquila plant. Schoeller told colleagues the court order to tear down a plant fully in operation doesn’t make sense.
"That’s not the common sense that I know that comes from Missouri," Schoeller told the House.
That portion of the bill passed on an 88-49 vote. The entire bill is poised for final passage. It then would go to the Senate for its consideration.