The GOP’s sensible energy vote in Kansas

Kansas took a step forward this week by deciding not to move backward on renewable energy.

An unusually bipartisan group of House members boldly upheld progressive state standards that encourage development of clean, renewable power in Kansas.

The House action was critical. Just the day before, Senate Republicans had recklessly pushed through a bill to repeal the 2009 standards. The standards mandate that utilities get 20 percent of their energy from renewables by 2020.

Killing that bill was a well-timed slap at conservative forces that are used to getting their way in the Legislature, such as Americans for Prosperity, the American Legislative Exchange Council and the state Chamber of Commerce.

As a number of lawmakers sensibly pointed out Wednesday, deep-sixing the energy mandate would have undermined the growing wind power industry and the jobs it is creating in Kansas.

When critics said the standards would boost future electricity rates, supporters accurately noted that rising bills in recent years actually have been tied to the massive costs of updating coal-fired power plants.