By Derek Gipson and Tom Baldwin
Occupy Biloxi Members
December 10, 2011
The Sierra Club and Mississippians for Affordable Energy need our help. And the Mississippi Power Company wants you, the rate-payer, to finance the dirty, expensive, and unnecessary abominable Kemper County Coal Plant and immediately increase your electricity rates.
DIRTY—The plant will use one of the most pollutive types of mining known as lignite strip mining in the headwaters of the Pascagoula River, one of the only unrestricted rivers in the U.S.
(Photo above at MS Power protest by John Tuepler) EXPENSIVE—The cost is estimated at nearly 3,000, 000, 000 dollars (that’s 3 billion minimum). Once again, this cost is foisted on the rate payers and the tax payers, not the company itself.! This kind of plant design is 25% more expensive than others at “best” case. Huge cost overruns always occur on projects like this. Large companies and casinos were given exemptions from the rate increases.
UNNECESSARY—Mississippi currently has natural gas power plants lying idle that can supply three times the necessary amount of power for the state. These are operating under capacity. Energy conservation measures can save much more money at incredibly reduced costs.
CORRUPT COLLUSION BETWEEN MS POWER AND GOVERNMENT— There are numerous examples of how this approval process avoided transparency and collusion with the State legislature, the Public Utilities Commission and Governor Haley Barbour whose lobbying firm also serves the parent of MS Power, the Southern Company headquartered in Atlanta.
Senate Bill No. 2793, signed by the governor, authorizes Mississippi Power to charge its customers to pay for the construction of this plant. Due to its experimental nature and the use of IGCC (“clean coal” technology), the plant MAY NEVER EVEN WORK AS DESIGNED. The rate payer will have to pay for the plant even if it never produces one watt of electricity and this plant was never intended to even supply electricity to Southern Mississippi! We can no longer afford to support this type of corrupt corporate welfare and must reject it. This project will make a few very rich while producing FEW jobs. In fact, the 3 billion dollar “investment” will produce 260 permanent jobs at a cost of nearly $110,000, 000 EACH! Many of these jobs will most likely not even be “created” jobs but jobs that are simply relocated from power plants on the Coast. The investment proposed could instead provide thousands of jobs in renewable energy and conservation at lower cost. This PUBLIC INVESTMENT could provide comfortable support for 6000 families at an average income of $50,000 per year for 10 years!! It is a monumental boondoggle and atrocity designed to enrich a private company and their friends.
We will be chartering a bus to travel to Jackson, MS on Dec. 14th to attend a MS Supreme Court hearing on the matter in a law suit brought by the Sierra Club. Join us to protest the blatant collusion of Mississippi Power and our Mississippi lawmakers to satisfy their own interests instead of the public’s interest.
You should call Linda St. Martin at 228-324-1028 or email Glen Sandberg at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to RSVP for the bus trip to Jackson on December 14 for the hearing before the Mississippi Supreme Court. It will be an opportunity to connect with our Capitol and learn more about citizen participation and will be fun! It will be leaving from Barnes and Noble parking lot in Gulfport. Crossroads Center at about 7:00 am. There are approximately 50 seats on the bus and overflow will be handled by a van or a second bus. A pickup will be arranged for those living in Jackson County at the Car Park at the intersection of Exit 50 and I-10 at 6:30 am!. We will keep you updated.
WLOX-TV Report on Protest at Mississippi Power December 7.
www.wlox.com Some of the people involved in the Occupy movement said it’s time for a new strategy that includes working with other grassroots groups.
Mississippi Public Radio (NPR) report by Rhonda Miller of our demonstration at Mississippi Power Company on December 7..