The Mississippi Supreme Court is deciding whether to allow construction to continue on a coal fueled power plant in Kemper County. Some residents want the plan squashed.

" /> Sierra Club, Concened Residents Protest Kemper County Power Plant | News | Mississippi Public Broadcasting
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Sierra Club, Concened Residents Protest Kemper County Power Plant

By Daniel Cherry | Published 14 Dec 2011 07:31pm | comments

The Mississippi Supreme Court is deciding whether to allow construction to continue on a nearly 3 billion dollar Kemper County power plant. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how the clean coal project has some residents crying foul.

Members of the Mississippi Sierra Club and Gulf Coast residents came to the state capitol yesterday to voice their concerns over the coal-fueled power plant in the works in Kemper County. Andrew Whitehurst with the Gulf Restoration Network is worried about pollution flowing down from retention ponds near the headwaters of the Pascagoula River into fragile wetlands on the coast.

"The outfalls from the sedimentation ponds, they weren't strict enough with the kind of chemicals that will be tested for or monitored. They weren't going to put limits on chlorides or sulfates and both of those are found in coal universally."

The Mississippi Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday over whether the Public Service Commission erred in changing their mind to allow construction of the plant. The PSC had previously called the plan too risky. The Kemper plant would use a technique called gasification to produce the energy. Louie Miller with the Sierra Club says there are other ways to produce electricity.

"The law required the Public Service Commission to choose the cheapest and most reliable technology. This is neither. This is experimental technology. It does not exist on a commercial scale anywhere in the world."

According to estimates, Mississippi Power ratepayers would see their bill jump up about 33 percent to fund the project. Jeff Shepard is a spokesman for Mississippi Power. He says no rate increase is desirable, but the plant would save customers money in the long run.

"Everybody has bigger TVs. Everybody has bigger houses. People use more energy and electricity than they did 10,15, 20 years ago and Kemper is a baseload plant that will help us meet that demand."

The state Supreme Court says they will work quickly to decide the fate of the plant.

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