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Tuesday, 16 April 2013 19:00

Kansas bill would halt spending funds on sustainable development

Written by  Lisa D'Souza

A bill that some call "absurd" and "regressive" is quickly gaining national attention.

House Bill 2366 legislation focuses on environmental sustainability and is getting quite the reputation.

The legislation that was introduced to the Kansas House of Representatives aims to outlaw the "use of public funds to promote or implement sustainable development."

Under the bill, all state and city dollars would be banned from anything related to sustainability.

State Representative Barbara Ballard, Lawrence, doesn't think the bill will reach the floor this legislative session.

“I personally don’t see any pros for it at all,” Ballard said.

Aron Cromwell of Cromwell Environmental Solar, said he thinks the bill is part of an attempt to outlaw environmental conservation efforts.

He's doubtful the legislation would pass.  But the former Lawrence City Commissioner said lumping city funding under the bill's regulations is a double standard.

Cromwell adds that for him, sustainability is "not a Republican or Democratic issue," and that the work is irresponsible.

For Ballard, energy efficiency is a key part of the state's money making.

“What about sustainable agriculture, that becomes another issue out there because agriculture is big for us in the state of Kansas,” Ballard said.  “If you are not going to protect it, especially now when we’re coming off of what we would call the worst drought in recorded history in the state, then I think we have to be very careful.”

She thinks the legislation would hinder future generations.

Representative Dennis Hedke, Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Environment, said the bill is trying to better define "sustainable development" following concerns of electricity increases across the state in the last five years.

He adds the bill is in no way associated with wind energy.