The Mississippi Supreme Court has dismissed Sierra Club’s appeal of the state Public Service Commission’s approval of the Kemper County IGCC plant. Sierra also filed its appeal in Harrison Chancery Court, where it was stayed pending the Supreme Court’s decision on jurisdiction.
Sierra will go forward with its Harrison County suit. The organization filed its lawsuit in both locations, since the law was unclear regarding jurisdiction.
The Supreme Court handed down its order Oct. 7 denying Mississippi Power Company a motion for extraordinary relief, dismissing the appeal and declaring a Sierra motion for expedited consideration moot.. Mississippi Power’s motion, if granted, would have kept the case in the Supreme Court.
Mississippi Power Company announced in May that it would build the Kemper plant after agreeing to restrictions put forth by the Commission. The Commission then granted the project a certificate of public convenience and necessity.
The Commission passed an order in April that conditionally approved the plant, capping its cost at $2.4 billion, among other restrictions. About one month later, the Commission passed a second order that eased the restrictions, limiting the plant’s cost overruns to $2.88 billion and also allowing the utility to charge customers for financing costs before the plant operates.
Sierra Club filed its lawsuit in June. The organization believes the Commission’s second conditional approval of the plant was arbitrary and unsupported by evidence produced in hearings.
The Kemper County IGCC plant will use new technology to convert on-site Mississippi lignite coal into gas, which would then be used to produce electricity. The facility will be the first commercial-scale power plant in the United States to capture its carbon dioxide emissions.
The company says the plant will protect customers against volatile natural gas prices.
Mississippi Power is based in Gulfport and provides electricity to nearly 190,000 people. Public utilities are regulated by the state Public Service Commission.
The Sierra Club is a non-profit environmental conservation group with approximately 1,700 Mississippi members.