For Immediate Release: March 15, 2012
Contact: Jenna Garland, (404) 281-6398
Proposed Kemper Coal Plant Permit Remanded
Mississippi Supreme Court Sides with Sierra
Club in Decision Issued Today
Jackson, MS – The Mississippi Supreme Court issued a unanimous
ruling today 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
“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
Previously, the Mississippi Business Journal determined the Kemper
plant would raise MS Power electricity rates by more than 45%[i].
Business Journal August 23rd, 2010. Volume 32, Number 34.