Big Victory Over MS Power’s Kemper Plant Scam: Sierra Club 9, MS Power 0

by Dr. Tom Baldwin, Biloxi, MS
March  17,  2012
From:  MS Director of the Sierra Club on MS Supreme Court Kemper Plant Decision
Subject: Fw: WE WON KEMPER ON A UNANIMOUS SUPREME COURT DECISION !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tom’s Simple Reply and Comment:  THIS FANTASTIC COMMUNICATION FROM LOUIE  MILLER WAS RECEIVED THIS AFTERNOON (Thursday, March 15).  IT IS INCREDIBLY GOOD NEWS AND EVERYONE WHO HAS FOUGHT SO HARD ON THE SIERRA CLUB TEAM FOR THIS SO LONG DESERVES CONGRATULATIONS AND MAYBE EVEN A STIFF DRINK!!  LET’S KEEP GOING GUYS AND NOT LET UP!!  LET’S ROLL IN MISSISSIPPI!!  I FEEL SO PRIVILEGED JUST TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH SUCH SUPERB PROFESSIONALISM AND LOUIE AND HIS TEAM ARE THE BEST!!
TOM
________________________________________________________________________________________
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF MISSISSIPPI
NO. 2011-CA-00350-SCT
SIERRA CLUB
v.
MISSISSIPPI PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
AND MISSISSIPPI POWER COMPANY, INC.
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/28/2011
TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JAMES B. PERSONS
COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HARRISON COUNTY CHANCERY COURT
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: ROBERT B. WIYGUL
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
BY: JUSTIN L. MATHENY
L. CHRISTOPHER LOMAX
HAROLD EDWARD PIZZETTA, III
SHAWN STEPHEN SHURDEN
LEO ERNEST MANUEL
BEN HARRY STONE
TIM A. FORD
WILLIAM L. SMITH
RICKY J. COX
NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL – STATE BOARDS AND AGENCIES
DISPOSITION: REVERSED AND REMANDED – 03/15/2012
MOTION FOR REHEARING FILED:
MANDATE ISSUED:
BEFORE DICKINSON, P.J., RANDOLPH AND PIERCE, JJ.
DICKINSON, PRESIDING JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:
¶1. The Mississippi Power Company (“MPC”) applied to the Mississippi Public Service
Commission (“Commission”) for permission to proceed with construction of a new power
generation facility that would employ a new technology not in operation anywhere else in
the United States, and to begin assessing the cost of construction (capped at $2.88 billion)
1 Miss. Code Ann. § 77-3-59 (Rev. 2009).
2
to its current customers. The Sierra Club opposed the project before the Commission, but
the Commission entered an order in favor of MPC. The Chancery Court of Harrison County
affirmed, and the Sierra Club appealed.
¶2. When the Commission grants authority for such projects, Mississippi law requires it
to make findings supporting its decision; and, according to the statute, the Commission’s
findings must be “supported by substantial evidence presented” which “shall be in sufficient
detail to enable [this] court on appeal to determine the controverted questions presented, and
the basis of the commission’s conclusion.”1 We find the Commission’s approval of the
project fails to satisfy this requirement, so we reverse the chancery court’s judgment and the
Commission’s order and remand to the Commission for further proceedings.
¶3. REVERSED AND REMANDED.
WALLER, C.J., CARLSON, P.J., RANDOLPH, LAMAR, KITCHENS,
CHANDLER, PIERCE AND KING, JJ., CONCUR.
________________________________________________________________________________________
Commissioner Brandon Presley’s (Northern District (and one of three Commissioners who opposed the original decision to build this monstrosity) formal comments after the  decision:
Jackson, Mississippi (March 15, 2012) – Today Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s reversal of Mississippi PowerCompany’s Kemper County Coal Plant: Today’s 9-0 decision by the Mississippi Supreme Court reversing the $2.8 billion Kemper County Coal Plant is a major victory for each and every customer of Mississippi Power Company and deals a serious blow to the company’s corporate socialism.

In this case, Mississippi Power Company gave new meaning to the phrase “We got the gold mine, they got the shaft”.

I’ve argued consistently that customers of Mississippi Power Company have been mistreated by the company hiding rate impacts in this case and by putting their shareholders above their customers.
This plant is untried technology. The shareholders have no risks while the customers have all the risks along with a 45% rate hike to boot. The company also wanted to raise rates before the plant produced any electricity. I believe in “pay as you go”, I just don’t believe you should pay BEFORE you go.

I personally wrote multi-page dissents in this case and am pleased today to see that those arguments were not in vain. This $2.8 billion case comes back now to the commission for further
review.

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