Author

Allison Kite

Allison Kite

Allison Kite is a data reporter for The Missouri Independent and Kansas Reflector, with a focus on energy, the environment and agriculture. A graduate of the University of Kansas, she previously covered City Hall for The Kansas City Star, as well as state government in both Topeka and Jefferson City.

Parson signs bill helping utilities shutter coal plants, transition to renewable power

By: - July 6, 2021

Missouri utilities will be able to shutter more coal plants, speeding their transition to renewable energy, under a bill signed by Gov. Mike Parson Tuesday.  Parson, a Republican, signed into law a policy known as “securitization,” which allows utility companies to refinance debt they issued to build coal plants and close the facilities early without […]

Consumer watchdog wants feds to acknowledge investors’ influence on Evergy expenses

By: - July 6, 2021

KANSAS CITY — A consumer watchdog wants federal regulators to acknowledge the influence of activist shareholders on Evergy’s decision-making, mirroring a push that Kansas regulators rejected.  Public Citizen, a 40-year-old nonprofit representing consumers, is pushing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to recognize two investment firms as part of Evergy, arguing last year that one of […]

Endangered fish, leaching ash ponds: Environmental groups oppose Missouri coal plant permit

By: - July 2, 2021

For years, Lisa Zerbe said she biked, rode horses and ran near Ameren Missouri’s largest coal-fired power plant in Franklin County because she “naively believed” state environmental regulators were protecting citizens from pollution.  Now, she won’t.  “It is truly a disheartening feeling of betrayal from an agency in my younger years I would have imagined […]

After February blackouts, energy companies gear up for high summer demand

By: - June 25, 2021

KANSAS CITY — Even before summer officially began, parts of Kansas and Missouri saw the year’s first heat wave stress an electrical grid nearly consumed by a cold snap just a few months ago.  Earlier this month, as air conditioners worked overtime to keep up with peak temperatures in the 90s, the Southwest Power Pool, […]

Some of Missouri’s largest CAFOs are seeking less stringent state regulation

By: - June 23, 2021

Eleven of Missouri’s largest concentrated animal feeding operations are working to reduce the state’s oversight of their hog facilities despite a record of manure spills and clean water violations.  Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, has 11 CAFOs seeking new state permits.  The facilities, dotted across northern Missouri, combined are capable of raising more […]

After winter cold snap drove up natural gas prices, utilities grapple with who should pay

By: - June 16, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Penalties that Spire Missouri issued to suppliers who failed to provide natural gas during a February cold snap that forced power outages across the Midwest could drive bills for hospitals, schools and businesses to astronomical levels, according to a trio of complaints pending before state regulators. During the worst of the […]

As massive livestock operations move in, fighting them gets harder for rural neighbors

By: - June 14, 2021

Jeff Jones has lived on his family’s land east of Columbia his entire life. Some of the family’s farms are more than 150 years old.  And Jones, who raises cattle and grows row crops, has no intentions of going anywhere.  But after years of fighting, his community is home to a concentrated animal feeding operation, […]

‘Defund the police’ was designed to provoke a response. In Missouri, it worked

By: and - June 9, 2021

For years after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, activists and community leaders have pushed to “re-envision public safety.”  Inspired in part by the Ferguson Commission, which recommended that cities focus more resources on the root causes of crime, organizers across the state echoed these calls.  But they largely fell on deaf ears. After […]

At behest of governor’s office, Missouri DNR created new senior post for Parson aide

By: - June 7, 2021

Gov. Mike Parson’s office directed the state’s Department of Natural Resources to create a new senior counsel position for an employee leaving the governor’s team, The Missouri Independent has learned.  Ryan Conway, who worked as special counsel in Parson’s office since receiving his law license in 2018, started at DNR in March, according to an […]

Missouri, Kansas utilities may use loophole to charge customers for fossil fuel lobbying

By: - June 7, 2021

KANSAS CITY — Missouri and Kansas residents’ utility bills may be helping to bankroll energy sector lobbying against policies aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Federal and state rules prohibit utility companies from passing their lobbying costs on to customers through bills. But in both Kansas and Missouri, utilities like Evergy, Ameren and Spire can […]

As Kansas, Missouri keep building wind, some communities look to regulate

By: - May 30, 2021

FRANKFORT, Kan. — Austin Cline is the third generation to farm his family’s land in Marshall County. His home, added onto many times over, sits at the edge of 1,000 acres where he raises cattle and bales hay.  From his driveway, he has a more than 180-degree view of neighbors’ land and native prairie grass. […]

‘I have to go out and beg’: Residents grapple with utility costs as shutoffs resume

By: - May 21, 2021

Utilites in Kansas and Missouri, including Evergy, resumed shutting off non-paying customers' power after a moratorium during the pandemic.