Immediate Release: April 26, 2012
Louie Miller, (601) 859-1054
Wiygul (228) 872-1125
Sierra Club Takes Latest PSC Flip-Flop To Court
MS – The Sierra Club has appealed the most recent flip-flop by two members of
the Mississippi Public Service Commission (PSC) on the Kemper County power
plant. In a four minute meeting on April
24, Commissioners Leonard Bentz and Lynn Posey again refused to allow the
public or opponents of the plant to speak, and without explanation reversed key
findings of their original April and May 2010 orders approving the $2.8 billion
dollar power plant.
the April 24 order, key portions of which were drafted by Mississippi Power for
the Commission, Bentz and Posey reversed their previous findings and stated
that the plant is in the public interest, even if it costs the ratepayers more
than Mississippi Power’s estimates.
While the Commissioners did keep the $2.88 billion dollar cap, they
stated that it was not required by law, leaving the door open for Mississippi
Power to try to bypass the cap later.
is really no choice but to appeal the latest flip flop,” said Louie Miller,
State Director of the Mississippi Sierra Club. “Bentz and Posey’s latest
decision basically parrots everything Mississippi Power says. The Kemper plant is already a financial
disaster for the ratepayer, and these two just won’t admit it.”
April 2010 all of the members of the Commission voted unanimously that the
Kemper plant as proposed by Mississippi Power could not be approved because it
was too risky for ratepayers. Commissioners Bentz and Posey, however, said that
the project could proceed if it did not cost more than $2.4 billion. Less than a month later, and without
explanation, Bentz and Posey voted to allow Mississippi Power another $480
million in cost overruns. Sierra Club challenged this decision, and the Supreme
Court ruled unanimously in favor of Sierra Club in a March 15 decision.
Bentz and Posey also refused to hear any evidence that the Kemper project is
turning into an even bigger disaster for ratepayers, as natural gas prices
reach historic lows.
Sierra Club had presented the Commission with expert testimony and evidence
that gas prices, now at historic lows, have rendered Kemper a disaster for
ratepayers before it is built. Bentz and
Posey have consistently refused to consider whether Kemper still makes sense.
the latest court filing Sierra Club has asked the court to let Mississippi
Power assume the risk of building the plant while the appeal proceeds. “If Mississippi Power thinks it is such a
good idea to build this boondoggle,” said Robert Wiygul, the attorney filing
the appeal on behalf of the Sierra Club, “the company should take the risk and
build the plant on its own nickel.
Instead, Mississippi Power wants the citizens of the coast to take all
168 new coal plants have been cancelled since 2001, and 107 plants have been
scheduled for retirement. Coal is generating less power for Americans than ever
before. Sierra Club continues to call on the Mississippi Public Service
Commission to re-open the Kemper County coal plant case, accept new evidence
and public comment, and accurately determine whether the plant is a good deal