November 22, 2012 (Thanksgiving)
On the surface, this article may appear to be just about a “little” three to four billion dollar problem in Mississippi. But in fact, it is a concrete example of how Corporatism is affecting the entire nation using the most impoverished state in the nation as an example of how corporations work with top government officials to profit themselves and those eager and willing to participate. It will be the subject of a continuing investigation.
Now why would I describe Haley Barbour’s “relationship” with a corporation as a “love affair”? It is relatively simple. Perhaps you would too if you had a lobbyist consulting firm (BGR–Barbour, Griffith and Rogers) you had established in about 1998 and received about 2 million dollars in payments (source listed below **) from “your lover”, the Southern Co. and while you were Governor of MS from 2003 to 2011. Of course, if your wayward son was on board part of this time at BGR to collect his “salary” too, that shouldn’t count should it?
Thus, for anyone who has tried to follow this saga of the MS Power Kemper “Clean Coal” Power Plant which Haley addressed in his letter of November 10 to the Sun Herald (Gulfport) and to the Clarion Ledger (Jackson) on November 14 they might have a problem. In his over 800 word letter he blamed the Sierra Club for the reasons of future electricity rate increases for their opposition to Kemper. But after all, the Southern Co. of GA (MS Power’s parent) and still a primary client has paid his BBR lobbyist firm in Washington at least $150,000 in 2012 alone. Wouldn’t Haley be expected to at least write a letter to support this atrocious Kemper project which he supported from the start? I mean, what else is an ex Governor expected to do for his clients? Incidentally, in 2011 while son Haley Jr. was on staff, the firm collected nearly $200,000 from Southern Co.
The issues associated with the MS Power/Southern Co. “Clean Coal” power plant in Kemper County, MS are many and are complicated. But the overwhelming evidence and facts that the Sierra Club has presented from the start to oppose this project are very convincing. This project is exceedingly expensive (compared to alternatives), the technology is not proven to work at commercial levels and there is no need at the present for this “boondoggle”. MS was “chosen”, thanks to Barbour and Southern, to be the guinea pig for the clean coal “TRIG” experiment in the U.S.
Potential investors from the beginning would not use their own money to pay for this risk so Mr. Barbour and Southern set up a plan where MS Power would charge their average customer or the rate payers in So. MS for the costs and to take all the risks. However, most will never receive any benefits from this boondoggle whether it works or not. There are no guarantees for pollution control from the low energy lignite coal mine that will rape the Earth and pollute our streams. It is in essence a huge scam of more than three billion dollars being perpetrated on Mississippians using at least 300 million dollars of federal funds. This is how the corporate state treats the poorest state in the union. The costs can be estimated to be a total of $15,000 for each ratepayer and at least 10 million dollars for each of the 260 permanent job created, many of which may not be new. What a deal, huh? “Stupid is, as stupid does.”
The basic question now is what are the citizens going to do about it? Do you support former Governor Barbour or the Sierra Club and their supporters? I suggest the citizens inform themselves soon and that the press help them soon or we’re all going to pay the price.
Finally, I am not a member of the Sierra Club nor paid by anyone but can provide you with nearly 30 blogs I have written or published on this subject in the last year. Contact me at the email address listed below for more detailed information.
**Source of data: Center for Responsive Politics http://www.opensecrets.org
About the author; Thomas Baldwin, Ph.D. has a doctorate in Physics and a Masters degree in Management. He has had long careers in both physics and management consulting including university appointments as a professor both at the Southern Illinois University and Colorado Technical University. He has been a corporate consultant to many well known large firms in project management and is current “officially” retired. In the last four years or more he has been focusing on applying his skills to better understand the political sector including socioeconomic conditions which are affecting our welfare and basic economic health. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org