Blatant Corporate Fascism in Mississippi: the Kemper Coal Power Plant

by Dr. Thomas Baldwin, Biloxi, MS

November 30, 2011

The Gulf Coast Group of the Mississippi Sierra Club meets the last Wednesday of the month at Harmony Hall, 2514 19th Avenue (immediately north off 25th St./Pass Road), Gulfport. A potluck supper starts at 6:30 p.m., followed by discussion of environmental issues at 7:00. This Wednesday, November 30, we’ll discuss Gulf restoration, the Mississippi Power price hike & wetlands permit for Plant Daniel, and we will remember the committed life of Lee Emery. For more information, call 228-872-0508. 

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This will be a short series of posts which describe one of the worst cases of corporate/government abuse of power in Mississippi in recent times.  It describes the essence of corporate fascism–the collusion of corporate power combined with government officials to profit in personal ways which lead to substantial damage to the public.  In this case, both the ratepayers and the taxpayers will be severely and needlessly harmed.

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Part I:  The Legal Essence  of the Case on December 14, 2011 before the MS Supreme Court in Opposition to Mississippi Power and the Southern Company.

(Extracted from:  http://msbusiness.com/2011/11/supreme-court-to-hear-kemper-coal-plant-arguments)

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The Mississippi Supreme Court will hear arguments from the Sierra Club challenging the state Public Service Commission’s approval of the project in Kemper County by Mississippi Power Co. Mississippi Power has started construction of the $2.4 billion coal plant.

Oral arguments are scheduled for Dec. 14.

The suit was filed and heard in Harrison County Chancery Court. Judge Jim Persons ruled in favor of the Commission and Gulfport-based Mississippi Power in February.

Mississippi Power began building the Kemper plant after the Commission passed a second conditional approval of the facility with 2-1 vote in May 2010.

THE KEMPER COUNTY IGCC COAL POWER PLANT:Here’s the little monster near the tiny community of Liberty, MS. It was originally approved as a 2.4 billion dollar project, quickly elevated to 480 million dollars more, uses unproven IGCC (coal gasification technology), uses electricity rate increases of enormous proportions to pay for the project upfront, and does not provide electricity for major parts of So. Mississippi! Photograph from press which is being sourced and has been posted on Facebook.

The Commission’s first conditional approval was passed in April of 2010 and capped the project at $2.4 billion, among other restrictions. The second order, passed approximately one month later, limits the plant’s cost overruns to $2.88 billion and also allows the utility to charge customers for financing costs before the plant becomes operational.

The Sierra Club believes the Commissions’ second conditional approval of the plant is arbitrary and  unsupported by evidence presented in extensive hearings regarding the project.

The suit says that the Commissioners “did not explain how their finding that a $2.88 billion cost was acceptable could be squared with their previous finding that there is no evidence to support a cost of over $2.4 billion.”

State Sierra Club director Louie Miller said the club has taken on the unexpected role of consumer advocate in addition to environmental advocate in this case.

Included in the suit is an effort to make customer rate impacts from the plant available to the public.

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3 responses to “Blatant Corporate Fascism in Mississippi: the Kemper Coal Power Plant

  1. Background: The JAckson Free PRess covered the Kemper scam pretty intensively over the last couple years: Adam Lynch won a Mississippi Press award for his reporting on it.

    http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/index.php/site/comments/kemper_plant_rate_hikes_confidential_060910
    http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/index.php/print_view/46961

    Background IGCC: These things have been tried all over the place but never has a commercial sized (>250MW) gone on line.
    http://www.power-ind-consulting.com/igcc-a-failure-to-launch

    TECO just cancelled plan for a 600MW IGCC outside Tampa
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Polk_Power_Station_Unit_6

  2. Pingback: Blogs Related to Occupy MS Power and Stop Kemper Coal Plant Scam | PROGRESSIVE ACTIVISTS VOICE

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