Jeffrey Energy Center

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{{#badges: CoalSwarm|Navbar-CoalPlants}} Jeffrey Energy Center is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Westar Energy near St. Mary's, Kansas.

Coal Supply

In its 2008 annual report, Westar stated that "We have a longterm coal supply contract with Foundation Coal West to supply coal to Jeffrey Energy Center from surface mines located in the Powder River Basin (PRB) in Wyoming. The contract contains a schedule of minimum annual MMBtu delivery quantities. All of the coal used at Jeffrey Energy Center is purchased under this contract. The contract expires December 31, 2020. The contract provides for price escalation based on certain costs of production. The price for quantities purchased in excess of the scheduled annual minimum is subject to renegotiation every five years to provide an adjusted price for the ensuing five years that reflects then current market prices. We made a scheduled re-pricing in 2008. The next re-pricing for those quantities over the scheduled annual minimum will occur in 2013."[1]

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Plant Data

  • Owner/Parent Company: Westar Energy
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 2,160 MW
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 720 MW (1978), 720 MW (1980), 720 MW (1983)
  • Location: 25905 Jeffrey Rd., St. Mary's, KS 66536
  • GPS Coordinates: 39.28556, -96.11
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 16,239,425 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 64,482 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 22,648 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 757 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the Jeffrey Energy Center

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[2] The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma-related episodes and asthma-related emergency room visits, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, peneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal-fired power plants. Fine particle pollution is formed from a combination of soot, acid droplets, and heavy metals formed from sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and soot. Among those particles, the most dangerous are the smallest (smaller than 2.5 microns), which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities.

The table below estimates the death and illness attributable to the Jeffrey Energy Center. Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[3]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the Jeffrey Energy Center

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 21 $150,000,000
Heart attacks 32 $3,500,000
Asthma attacks 360 $18,000
Hospital admissions 15 $350,000
Chronic bronchitis 13 $5,700,000
Asthma ER visits 23 $8,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

Jeffrey Energy Center ranked 99th on list of most polluting power plants in terms of coal waste

In January 2009, Sue Sturgis of the Institute of Southern Studies compiled a list of the 100 most polluting coal plants in the United States in terms of coal combustion waste (CCW) stored in surface impoundments like the one involved in the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill.[4] The data came from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 2006, the most recent year available.[5]

Jeffrey Energy Center ranked number 99 on the list, with 190,417 pounds of coal combustion waste released to surface impoundments in 2006.[4]

Westar settles lawsuit filed by Justice Department and EPA

On February 4, 2009, the U.S. Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency filed a clean air lawsuit against Westar, claiming the company updated a coal plant in Kansas without installing modern pollution controls. The suit alleges that Westar's 1,857 MW Jeffrey Energy Center has violated the Clean Air Act for over a decade.[6]

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. district court in Kansas City and cites Westar for violating the 'new source review' portion of the Clean Air Act. A spokesperson for the Justice Department declined to estimate how much Westar may face in fines. The largest fine in a new source review lawsuit was a $1.4 billion settlement with American Electric Power.[6]

In response to the suit, Westar issued a statement saying:[7]

We have known for more than six years, and have even publicly disclosed, that the Department of Justice at some point might file a lawsuit.

We are good environmental stewards, and that is why over the last several years, we have invested nearly $500 million to remove up to 90 percent of the very emissions that the EPA has targeted with its complaint. We also expect to invest more than $1 billion in additional equipment over the next five years. A graphic detailing our target emissions reductions appears with this statement.

In its 2008 annual report Westar stated "A decision in favor of the DOJ and the EPA, or a settlement prior to such a decision, if reached, could require us to update or install emissions controls at Jeffrey Energy Center. Additionally, we might be required to update or install emissions controls at our other coal-fired plants, pay fines or penalties or take other remedial action. Our ultimate costs to resolve the NSR Investigation and the related DOJ lawsuit could be material. We believe that costs related to updating or installing emissions controls would qualify for recovery in the prices we are allowed to charge our customers. If, however, a penalty is assessed against us, the penalty could be material and may not be recovered in rates. We are not able to estimate the possible loss or range of loss at this time."[8]

On September 29, 2009, the Sierra Club announced it was planning to file a request in federal court to intervene in the lawsuit. Attorney Bob Eye said the group wanted to provide expertise and support in backing the claims made against Westar. He said the Sierra Club did not plan to raise new issues in the case.[9]

On January 25, 2010, Westar Energy agreed to spend $500 million to reduce sulfur dioxide pollution at its Jeffrey Energy Center by installing scrubbers by the end of 2014. The company said it had opted to settle rather than to litigate.[10]

Articles and Resources


  1. Westar Energy, Westar Energy 2008 Annual Report", Westar Energy, page 10. (Page 12 of the pdf).
  2. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  3. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  4. 4.0 4.1 Sue Sturgis, "Coal's ticking timebomb: Could disaster strike a coal ash dump near you?," Institute for Southern Studies, January 4, 2009.
  5. TRI Explorer, EPA, accessed January 2009.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "U.S. files clean air lawsuit against Westar Energy," Reuters, February 5, 2009.
  7. "Westar Energy Responds to EPA/U.S. Department of Justice Lawsuit," Earth Times, February 4, 2009.
  8. Westar Energy, Westar Energy 2008 Annual Report", Westar Energy, page 14.
  9. John Hanna, "Sierra Club wants to join lawsuit against Westar," Associated Press, September 29, 2009.
  10. "Westar Settles Air Quality Suit For $3M, Plant Upgrade," Wall Street Journal, January 25, 2010.


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