Fight over Kemper plant returns to court today

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The construction of the $2.8 billion Kemper County power plant has opponents going back to court today.

The Sierra Club and others opposed to the lignite plant want Harrison County Chancellor Jim Persons to rule that the new permission granted by the Mississippi Public Service Commission in April to move forward was illegal.  They say the PSC should have held new hearings after the state Supreme Court rejected the original certificate a month before.

The high court ruled that the commission hadn't proven good cause to raise the cost cap on the plant from $2.4 billion to $2.8 billion in 2010.

Meanwhile, Construction on the Kemper county plant has reached a major milestone.  Mississippi Power officials tell WLOX News crews have safely installed a section of the plant's gasifier.  That's the device used to convert the plant's affordable fuel source - lignite - into a synthesis gas to generate electricity.

Mississippi Power contends once it's open, this new lignite plant will save customers $50 million a year.  They also say the project is a huge economic boost for Mississippi, creating up to 3,000 construction jobs, and more than 300 permanent positions.

Today's hearing begins at 9:00 at the Harrison County courthouse.

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