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Mississippi Power Requesting Certificate to Continue Building Kemper County Plant

By Rhonda Miller | Published 29 Mar 2012 10:36pm | comments

This morning, the Public Service Commission will consider issuing a temporary certificate for Mississippi Power to continue construction on its Kemper County plant. MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports the meeting is the next step in a continuing controversy.

The Mississippi Sierra Club says construction on Mississippi Power’s Kemper County plant should stop. That’s because on March 15, the state Supreme Court reversed the original approval for the power plant, saying there wasn’t enough supporting evidence.  State Sierra Club President Louie Miller said Thursday, the Public Service Commission should wait until all the evidence is reviewed before allowing any more construction.

"We understand this is a large project. We understand that it's underway. We think it’s irresponsible for Mississippi Power and the Department of Energy to have proceeded with this project with its certificate being contested by us."

Mississippi Power spokesman Jeff Shepard said the company is asking the Public Service Commission to approve a temporary certificate for construction that has been going on since December 2010.

"It’s basically set up to protect ourselves, Mississippi Power, and our customers from the possible stoppage of construction, which would add immeasurable cost and a delay to the project."

Shepard says Mississippi Power has science on its side in building the state-of-the art facility that turns lignite into a synthetic gas to generate power.

On the other hand, the Sierra Club calls the lignite process unproven and an excessive financial burden on ratepayers who will see their bills go up by more than 33 percent to pay for the project.

Mississippi Power and the Sierra Club have to present legal arguments and evidence to the Public Service Commission by April 2, so it can reconsider the project.

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