Kansas Bill Hopes To Outlaw Sustainable Development

Sustainability, while an overused term, is generally accepted as a positive one. In fact, the accepted definition of the term has been around since the 1980’s: “…development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Pretty benign, right? Not according to the Kansas State Legislature.

The Kansas Committee on Energy and Environment recently proposed a bill [PDF] that would outlaw the use of taxpayer dollars for anything that could be construed as sustainable development. Sound insane? It gets better. Apparently, the bill was inspired by the complaints of “maybe a dozen” people who feel that stuff like solar panels and energy efficient lighting is part of a secret activist agenda that needs to be exposed.

Now just in case you think that I’m making this up or reading too much into it, here’s the actual language from the bill:

kansas sustainable development bill


As mentioned previously, this mind-boggling law was introduced by Kansas’ Committee on Energy and Environment, headed by one Dennis Hedke.

According to Bloomberg.com, “Hedke said in a phone interview that he brought the bill to the committee on behalf of a group of “maybe a dozen” people who approached him about it. ‘The idea of sustainable development and its association with a range of activities is something that needs to be scrutinized in the public domain,’ he said. Hedke declined to comment on what sorts of activities he was referring to and wouldn’t disclose who was involved in the group that brought him the bill.”

But we’ve got our own theory about who it might be. See when not introducing completely ludicrous bills into the Kansas Legislature, Hedke works as “a contract geophysicist whose client list includes 30 regional oil and gas companies.” Two industries that have everything to lose if sustainable development continues its upward growth in the United States.

Now, we could make some unkind jokes about country folk in Kansas being scared of hippies and their solar panels, but this really isn’t a cause for jokes. This ridiculous event proves how dedicated the fossil fuel industry is to taking our resources, and our money. It proves how little attention they think we’re paying to our own government. Even worse, it proves that even though sustainable development has been show to stimulate economies, generate profit, increase energy security, and create jobs, they’ll do just about anything to stop it.

Thankfully, the bill isn’t likely to become law any time soon; Kansas’s 90-day legislative session ended without a hearing on the bill. Hedke said they may revisit it next year.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog


  • Reply April 12, 2013


    The irony is that we are in a drought and Wichita, according the the Kansas Dept of Health and Environment, is concerned about its water supply from Lake Cheney that is down to 58% of what it normally is. Per KDHE, Lake Cheney will be dry by Aug 2015. My Mother-in-Law went to meeting in a western county, town of Dighton, about not allowing new water wells last year. Too bad that the people of Wichita can’t behind water conversation and restriction like they could behind the Wichita State basketball team on this.

    Summing up, are the legislature in Kansas going to outlaw means for Wichita to endure the drought?

  • Reply April 12, 2013

    Bradley Baustert

    Kansas is one of 19 states that allow the recall of state officials via petition. However, Kansas requires the highest percentage (40%) of signatures of any state for recall. If the 2012 election results I found were correct, that’s 3208 signatures before a recall election could be called.

    After finding out that Hedke is accepting money from the oil and natural gas industry and then putting forth bills such as these, I think that’s a pretty worthy cause to take up. This is Government corruption, plain and simple.

  • Reply April 13, 2013


    Wow, good news! Sustainable Development is a cover for collectivism run by a group of elites far away with no control on the local level at all. I hope they stop SD everywhere. It’s no wonder it’s called ‘Green on the outside, red on the inside.’ People need to study up who is behind all the and look through all the wording on the UN web site. This is collectivism. Communism in the end.

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