Kansas has long been a place where great contests for the soul of the country have been fought. The scars of the violence from “Bloody Kansas” lie mostly buried, with memorial plaques bearing witness to where homes burned and people died over whether Kansas would join the United States as a free state or slave state. Kansas eventually joined the United States as a free state, rejecting the premise that some must live as slaves in a repudiation that helped precipitate the Civil War. The progressive populism of Kansas helped launch the Progressive era and the curbing of the Robber Barons.
We all know there is a new great contest for the soul of America, to whether or not to rise to the Climate Challenge, take responsibility for its role in changing the world’s climate, and lead the world in developing the clean energy revolution needed to solve our economic and ecological crises. Kansas is again on the forefront.
In a state that many had written off as deep Red and beholden to right-wing arguments against either acknowledging or addressing Global Warming, Kansas Governor Sebelius took a courageous step few other governors would take and blocked the building of two new dirty and dangerous coal plants.
She did so in the face of a legislative revolt, vetoing repeatedly the misguided efforts to push the plants through. In fact, she used the Supreme Court decision, Massachusetts vs. EPA, as her justification, thereby setting the stage for a future President of the United States to do so with a Coal Moratorium.
For added impact. Notice the signs, in the hands of two ministers as well as students, Wind not Coal, being furiously whipped around by the strong winds. For a higher quality version, please watch it here.
Kansas citizens are likewise standing up and demanding to be heard that they support clean energy, not dirty and dangerous coal. For evidence, see this footage of dozens of Kansas citizens coming together to protest the 14th dirtiest coal plant in the nation: you can see its plume of dirty smoke in the background.
So, with the nation watching where Kansas is going, the answer is blowing in the wind. Kansas gets it.