Read the Supreme Court's decision (PDF, 68 KB)
Today, the Mississippi Supreme Court rejected Mississippi Power Company's appeal for the court to throw out a Sierra Club suit over an estimated $2.88 billion experimental coal plant in Kemper County.
Mississippi Sierra Club Director Louie Miller said the decision sends the case back to Harrison County Chancery Court. "We count this as a small victory in that the case can be handled by a local court, which should be in handling this kind of issue in the first place," Miller said, adding that he hoped that the Supreme Court decision will allow Harrison County Chancery Court to move forward on the case sooner.
The Mississippi Sierra Club filed a June suit in Harrison County Chancery Court challenging a decision by two Mississippi Public Service Commissioners to upgrade an earlier PSC decision capping expenses of the $2.88 billion coal-burning power plant to $2.4 billion.
Mississippi Public Service Commissioners Lynn Posey, and Leonard Bentz issued an April 29 decision limiting the cost of the plant to $2.4 billion. The stockholders of Mississippi Power Company would have to pick up any costs above $2.4 billion, they said. MPC complained that it should be able to pass any additional costs above $2.4 billion down to the ratepayers, and warned that it could not afford to build the plant if not allowed to pass on the costs.
The commission revised their decision in a May 26 revised opinion, allowing the company to charge rate-payers up to $2.88 billion for the plant. Mississippi Power Company did not publicly release the amount of the rate increase customers would be shouldering as a result of the plant.
The Sierra Club, in its June motion, called Posey's and Bentz' actions "arbitrary, capricious, beyond legal authority, and unsupported by substantial evidence," and demanded that the commission's decision granting the certificate and the May 26, 2010 order, be vacated.
Mississippi Power Company filed a motion for extraordinary relief and a motion to dismiss in Mississippi Supreme Court, seeking to toss the case before Chancery Court could make a ruling. However, Justice Randy Pierce issued a one-page decision today denying Mississippi Power's motion, and dismissing the appeal. It also dismissed as moot the Sierra Club's Motion for Expedited Consideration--which the organization filed in response to Mississippi Power's Supreme Court appeal.
Miller said the Sierra Club filed the case in Harrison County because the county represents the location of Mississippi Power's rate-payers.
CORRECTION: In a previous version of this story, reporter Adam Lynch erroneously reported that "Mississippi Public Service Commissioners Lynn Posey, Leonard Bentz and Brandon Presley made an April 29 decision limiting the cost of the (Kemper County coal) plant to $2.4 billion." Presley approved neither the April 29 decision or the May 26 revised opinion. Presley remains opposed to the construction of the plant to this day.