Allison Kite

Allison Kite

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

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

By: - June 25, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — 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 […]

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

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jeff Jones has lived on his family’s land east of Columbia, Missouri, 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 […]

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

By: - June 7, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas and Missouri 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 […]

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

By: - May 30, 2021

FRANKFORT — 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. But […]

Three Kansas Republicans in Congress want the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to extend by 90 days the public comment period on a proposal to list the lesser prairie-chicken under the Endangered Species Act. (Greg Kramos/USFWS)

Lesser prairie chicken may be listed as threatened in Kansas, endangered in southwest

By: - May 26, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Lesser prairie chickens could be listed as a threatened species in Kansas and northern stretches of the bird’s habitat, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday. The lesser prairie chicken, which lives in prairie grass and shrubs in western Kansas, once numbered in the hundreds of thousands. But with about […]

‘I have to go out and beg’: residents grapple with utility costs as shut-offs resume

By: - May 21, 2021

The pandemic has been especially hard on Louise Lynch’s family.  Her daughter caught COVID-19 as the virus first took hold in Kansas City and nearly succumbed to it. Lynch lost one job at the start of the pandemic. She says she was fired from another because of health complications from getting the virus late last […]

EPA awards Topeka $300,000 cleanup grant to make way for riverfront park

By: - May 19, 2021

TOPEKA — Topeka will receive $300,000 in federal funds to eradicate contamination near the Kansas River to make way for new development, city and federal officials announced Wednesday. The Environmental Protection Agency provided funds from its Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup Grant Program, which is designed to help local governments, American Indian tribes and nonprofits assess […]

Natural gas shortages, high prices helped drive February power outages

By: - May 11, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A precipitous drop-off in natural-gas powered electricity, coupled with high demand and other power generation outages, drove the grid instability that forced power outages in Kansas in February, officials with the Southwest Power Pool said Tuesday. Lanny Nickell, SPP’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, appeared before the Kansas Corporation […]

Gov. Laura Kelly said construction of Inevergy’s new Grain Belt Express transmission line to carry wind-driven electricity to Missouri, Illinois and Indiana can create about 1,000 permanent jobs in Kansas. This image is of Evergy's Flat Ridge Wind Farm near Medicine Lodge. (Submitted/Kansas Reflector)

Public can comment on Evergy sustainability plan after critiques over transparency

By: - May 6, 2021

Members of the public will be allowed to comment on Evergy’s five-year sustainability plan after environmental and consumer advocates criticized regulators’ process as not transparent. The three-member Kansas Corporation Commission voted unanimously Thursday morning to allow public comments on the utility’s “sustainability transformation plan” starting immediately. The public comment period will close July 7. The […]

Evergy earnings shot up following February cold snap that forced blackouts

By: - May 6, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Evergy more than doubled its earnings in the first quarter compared to the beginning of 2020, largely due to the profits it made on sky-high wholesale energy prices during a February cold snap that forced it to cut off power to thousands of customers across the region. The utility, which serves […]

Less pollution, lower bills: Kansas, Missouri move ahead on utility securitization

By: - May 5, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Utility providers across Kansas and Missouri may soon be able to retire coal-fired power plants faster as the energy sector accelerates its transition to renewable energy sources. Kansas already passed legislation that allows companies to shutter coal plants, which release considerable amounts of carbon dioxide, without the financial hit that would […]