Mississippi Supreme Court Sides with Sierra Club in Decision Issued Yesterday
Jackson, MS–(ENEWSPF)–March 16, 2012. The Mississippi Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling yesterday that deals a major blow to the dirty, expensive, and unnecessary proposed Kemper coal plant project. Mississippi Power, the major owner and developer of the proposed coal plant, had petitioned the Mississippi Public Service Commission to build and begin charging MS Power ratepayers for the construction and development of the plant, which will employ expensive and untested technology. The Supreme Court ruling found that the Public Service Commission had not provided evidence to support its decision allowing MS Power to charge ratepayers. The ruling is reversed, and is remanded to the Commission for further proceedings.
“This unanimous ruling demonstrates that the abrupt flip-flop by Commissioners Bentz and Posey was the result of outside pressure, not careful review of evidence,” said Louie Miller, Director of the Mississippi Chapter of the Sierra Club. “This is a great day for Mississippi ratepayers and the people of Kemper County who have fought long and hard to preserve their way of life.”
The PSC had previously denied MS Power’s application, but one month later, during the tumult of the BP Oil Spill crisis, the PSC reversed its original finding, but failed to provide any reasoning or evidence for the change. This sudden, unexplained reversal violates Mississippi law, and Sierra Club filed suit against the PSC and MS Power. Today’s Supreme Court decision agrees with Sierra Club’s challenge.
Sierra Club and allied organizations have fought the Kemper project since it was first proposed, on the grounds that the project is dirty, expensive, and unnecessary. Coal plants emit large amounts of pollution that threatens human health, and the Kemper plant would also have an on-site lignite coal mine supplying the plant’s operations. Lignite coal is considered the lowest grade of coal with the highest concentration of toxic pollutants. If built, the proposed Kemper plant will displace families who have lived in Kemper County for generations, will destroy forests, and severely impact water and air quality.
Previously, the Mississippi Business Journal determined the Kemper plant would raise MS Power electricity rates by more than 45%[i].
[i] Mississippi Business Journal August 23rd, 2010. Volume 32, Number 34.