Mississippi OKs coal mine to feed Kemper power plant

JACKSON — A Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality permit board gave final approval Tuesday to a plan by Liberty Fuels to mine lignite, a soft form of coal, from about 1,000 acres in Kemper County over the next five years. The mine would feed the coal-fired power plant that Mississippi Power Co. is building nearby.

Environmentalists have fought mine permits because of their opposition to the $2.4 billion plant, but also because they say it would pollute streams leading to Okatibee Lake. However, the Sierra Club withdrew opposition during the process, easing the path to approval.

Liberty Fuels, a unit of NACCO Industries of Cleveland, Ohio, plans to mine lignite from 955 acres of a 2,299-acre area during the first five years of operation. Liberty also operates a mine north of Ackerman.

— Jeff Amy

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