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View of plant facing west at sunset.

Utility critic says he won’t sue over power plant deal

A Hattiesburg oilman and longtime critic of Mississippi Power Co. says he won’t sue to overturn a settlement that regulators approved earlier this month.

Thomas Blanton said Tuesday in a statement that he still believes the Mississippi Public Service Commission didn’t have the power to change the plant’s permit to allow it to burn only natural gas, instead of gasifying lignite coal as originally planned. However, Blanton says but says he doesn’t believe that even a successful appeal to the state Supreme Court would make much difference in the settlement’s terms.

Shareholders of Atlanta-based Southern Co. will have lost $6.5 billion from the plant built by its Mississippi subsidiary. Residential customers could soon pay about $3 less per month for the part of the power plant burning natural gas.

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