The Mississippi Public Service Commission voted Tuesday to give new approval for Mississippi Power Co.’s coal-fired power plant in Kemper County, pushing aside opponents’ calls for a fresh look at the plant’s finances.
The commission voted 2-1 to approve the $2.4 billion plant. Southern District Commissioner Leonard Bentz and Central District Commissioner Lynn Posey, both Republicans, voted for the plant. Northern District Commissioner Brandon Presley, a Democrat, voted against it.
Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley reacts after the two other commissioners give new approval for Mississippi Power Co.’s coal-fired power plant in Kemper County on Tuesday. April 24 2012
The PSC had to vote for the plant again after the state Supreme Court ruled last month that regulators didn’t fully explain why they raised a cost cap from $2.4 billion to $2.88 billion. The Sierra Club, which opposes the plant, brought the lawsuit that led to that decision.
Commissioners said Tuesday’s ruling does not raise the $2.88 billion cost cap, which is meant to provide a 20 percent margin for overruns.
Tuesday’s action is unlikely to end the dispute. Louie Miller, who heads the Mississippi Sierra Club, immediately threatened a return to the state Supreme Court. He said opponents will seek an immediate halt to construction at the site, where the unit of Atlanta-based Southern Co. has already spent $1.1 billion and committed an additional $400 million.