The debate has lasted five years, and Friday the fight over a coal-fired power plant in southwest Kansas went to the Kansas Supreme Court.
At issue is the air quality permit issued for the proposed plant near Holcomb. The permit is being challenged by environmental groups, including The Sierra Club.
Those groups argue that the permit process was flawed, and that shortcuts were taken for political reasons. They also argue that the permit does not meet with current federal air quality and emissions standards and that group members would be harmed by the plant's emissions.
"They seem to think they can just deal with this later, after the plant is operating, but they need these limits now in the pre-construction permit, so we can ensure the plant that gets built can meet these standards," said Eartjustice attorney Amanda Goodin.
The state and Sunflower argue that the process was correct, and followed the law. They says the process used the best data available, and assume that the plant would use the most current technology to reduce emissions.
"The construction permit says on its face that it is not a license to violate either the Kansas Air Quality Act or the Clean Air Cat," said Assistant Attorney General Steve Fabert.
Fabert argued that the state did its due diligence in researching and approving the permit.
"This is not a rubber stamp process," said Fabert. "A tremendous amount of energy and effort went into assembly and evidence to provide public hearings and due process before the decision was made."
The court took the arguments under advisement, and will issue its decision at a later date.
The debate over the plant has lasted since 2007. In October of that year state health officials denied permits for two plants. In May of 2009 an agreement with then Governor Mark Parkinson allowed Sunflower to build one plant. Sunflower applied for the permit in January of 2010, and after a series of hearings, it was approved in December of 2010. Legal wrangling has continued since then, delaying the plant's construction.
*Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report