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Judge Dismisses Challenge to Kemper Power Plant

By Daniel Cherry | Published 18 Dec 2012 08:23pm | comments
A recent court ruling means Mississippi Power Company's 2 point 8 billion dollar Kemper County power plant is one step closer to having legal approval. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports, a south Mississippi judge has denied a challenge of the project.
 
Mississippi Power's coal fired gasification power plant under construction in Kemper County has cleared a hurdle in a Harrison county court. Chancery Judge Jim Persons denied a Sierra Club challenge to the plant's license. Jeff Shepard is a spokesman for Mississippi Power.
 
"It's the second time that we've been through this in Harrison County Chancery Court. We're happy the ruling came down the way that it did. We don't expect this is the end of it. We feel like this is another step. We'll just move forward from here."
 
The ruling came down late Monday. Louie Miller, Director of the Mississippi Sierra Club, says his group is planning to appeal.
 
"Certainly we will appeal this decision to the Supreme Court. Which the last chancery court decision was overturned by unanimous 9-0 verdict of the Mississippi Supreme Court."
 
Previously, the state high court did overturn the plant's license, agreeing with the Sierra Club that the state Public Service Commission needed to give more of an explanation for raising the cost cap on the project. The PSC granted a new certificate, and Mississippi Power's Jeff Shepard doesn't foresee another legal setback.
 
"The Public Service Commission has done more than enough when it comes to homework. This is the most studied and reviewed power plant in history of the state of Mississippi."
 
But the Sierra Club still believes the project is too expensive, saying ratepayers could see significant increases in their energy bills to fund the multi-billion dollar plant.
 
"None of this changes the fact that this is a project that is out of control financially and otherwise", says Miller.
 
Mississippi Power projects the plant will go into operation in May 2014. Daniel Cherry...MPB News.

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