I believe very strongly in the free market as the source of economic growth and job creation. In order to promote economic growth, Kansas needs to reduce unnecessary taxes and regulatory burdens that discourage Kansans from starting and operating small businesses, and we need to minimize government subsidies that attempt to steer investment into activities that politicians think are best. Thriving small businesses are the best sources of job creation for Kansas, and we need to help them, not hinder them.
Energy is the lifeblood of our country, and Kansas ranks 9th in the nation (at 2010) in energy production. Kansas' principal energy sources include oil and natural gas, ethanol and wind. Ethanol and wind are renewable resources and the state has seen considerable development of each of these resources throughout the past decade, while oil and natural gas production have been a part of Kansas energy mix for more than 150 years. Our energy infrastructure is ever changing and market forces will dictate the contribution from any given contributor to the total spectrum of available energy.
Drawing from data available from the US Energy Information Agency (EIA), here is some information you may find useful:
- Kansas ranked ninth among the 50 States in crude oil production at 2011.
- The Hugoton Gas Area, which contains one of the top-producing natural gas fields in the United States, is found in southwestern Kansas, as well as in parts of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles.
- The Mid-Continent Center, located in south central Kansas, is a key natural gas supply hub that takes production from several States in the region and pipes it east toward major consumption markets.
- Electric utilities provided 94 percent of the State's net electricity generation in 2011; 74 percent of net generation came from coal-fired electric power plants.
- In 2011, eight percent of net electricity generation in Kansas came from wind energy.
*Last updated in July 2012.
In terms of energy production by various sources for year 2010, the latest year available, we have this snapshot:
Further explaining the above graphic, far and away the greatest use of the natural gas produced goes toward heating and cooling our homes, as well as providing feedstock for power generation to fuel our industrial complex.
Some of the crude oil produced will make its way to Kansas refineries, but a significant fraction will be moved via transportation and pipelines to other states for handling and distribution.
Virtually all nuclear power generated in Kansas will be delivered to Kansas homes and businesses.
Given the considerable buildout of wind energy during 2011-12, it is likely that the 'Other Renewable Energy' category is increased somewhat above 50 Trillion BTU.
It may also be of interest to know how we are consuming our energy across the broad spectrum of the energy mix in the state, as indicated below:
While this is current at 2010, it is not likely that the quantities, other than perhaps those due to wind/renewables, have materially changed since that time. In other words, Kansas energy consumption has likely not increased more than a few percent, if that, since 2010.
What has increased very significantly since 2008-09, is the cost of delivered electricity in our state. Estimates range from a minimum of about 25% to a maximum of about 60%, depending on where you live. These increases are due to a variety of factors, including mandates that were passed by the Kansas legislature in 2009, that defined how future power capacity would be developed and then delivered from just the renewable sector, those being:
- 10% renewable nameplate capacity by the end of 2010
- 15% renewable nameplate capacity by the end of 2015
- 20% renewable nameplate capacity by the end of 2020
For all intents and purposes, the industry has met the 2015 mandate already, and the impact has been felt by consumers. By virtue of data provided by Westar Energy, I calculate the combined impact of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), peaking unit buildout required for backup when the wind dies down, and transmission system buildout to accommodate the wind facilities, to be responsible for anywhere from ¼ to ⅓ of the increased costs we have experienced, or anywhere from 10-15% of the cost increase.
Legislatively, I believe it is appropriate to revisit the mandates, and we attempted to do so last session. It will likely be discussed again in the 2014 session.
Finally, a more recently derived look at electricity generation in Kansas is seen here:
National policy is focused on an effort to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy to heat and cool our homes, run our transportation system and support our industrial complex.
While I can appreciate the desire to expand the mix of our available energy resources, I strongly oppose the suggestion that we need to attack any given well-established, stable supply source, or worse, an entire range of sources, e.g. fossil fuels. That sort of 'policy making' is absolutely ill-conceived and fraught with significant unintended consequences.
Furthermore, that policy-making is tightly wound around the assumption that we must somehow control the emission of one of nature's most essential and harmless atmospheric components, namely carbon dioxide (CO2). Not only is that a fallacious argument, the premise that global temperature is driven by increasing CO2 is also materially defeated by data that is accumulating by some of the most sophisticated research available. What the actual data shows is that temperature drives CO2, either up or down. The earth has been, fortunately for mankind, moving away from one of the most debilitating periods in modern history, where temperatures were much lower, much more difficult to live in, to grow crops, and all the things we so enjoy today. That period was known as the Little Ice Age, which thankfully expired around 1750.
I strongly support responsible development of Kansas energy to help our economy, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and contribute to our country's energy security.
Environmental stewardship is very important to me. We must preserve, and if we can, with appropriate cost-benefit analysis, improve the environment for future generations. I am committed to pursuing a balance between laws, regulations, and peoples' well-being. In the past, for example, I supported changing Kansas laws to help farmers retain their water rights while conserving this important natural resource. I believe that environmental laws and regulations must be carefully tailored to lower costs, burdens, and restrictions for individuals and businesses.
As a nation, we have made very substantial improvements in our environment, especially those of our air and water. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment works with the federal Environmental Protection Agency to faithfully monitor and maintain high standards of these important assets.
That being said, it is my opinion that cost-benefit analysis, especially at the federal level, has been in serious error for a significant period of time, and that onerous regulation has become the rule, rather than the exception. The result of out-of-balance regulation has been seen in unacceptably higher electricity costs, with impending risks still ahead in that important sector.
We will strive to provide credible input via sound policies that encourage wise stewardship of our already high quality air and water.
Our children represent the future of Kansas. In order to prepare future generations to meet the challenges ahead, we need to provide strong, effective sources of education. In addition to ensuring the strength and quality of Kansas public schools, our state should support other, diverse methods of educating children, including charter schools and home education. The best education system is one where excellence is encouraged without limitation.
Respect for Life
All human life is God-given and precious. How we treat the weakest members of our society is a defining issue for who we are as a people. Our laws should be written to protect those who cannot protect themselves, including the unborn, the elderly, and the truly disabled. I will work to enact laws that protect and respect life from conception to natural death.
- Reduce unnecessary tax and regulatory burdens on Kansas Citizens
- Promote conservation and responsible development of Kansas' natural resources
- Advance education based on sound policy, not government mandates
- Ensure health care based on patient needs, not government bureaucracy