Posted: Mar 17, 2012 3:59 PM CDT
Updated: Mar 17, 2012 8:28 PM CDT
By Michelle Lady
SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) –
The Mississippi Supreme Court unanimously ruled the Public Service Commission must go back and provide more details on why commissioners eased the financial terms under which the Kemper County Power Plant could be built.
Attorney Robert Wiygul who represents the Mississippi Sierra Club says, “Mississippi Power, I think, takes the view that this is just a minor setback, but the fact is the courts don’t reverse a $2.8 Billion decision unless something was bad, wrong with it.”
“What the supreme court said here is that the public service commission did never make a finding that this was in the public interest,” Wiygul said.
But Mississippi Power Company Officials believe they have proved their case.
Company spokesman Jeff Shepard said, “We are confident in the evidence presented in May of 2010. This isn’t a ruling against the power plant. It is a ruling against the way the Public Service Commission presented it’s ruling.”
They are so sure in fact, the company has continued with construction of the plant.
“We have a goal, and that goal is to stay on schedule, have the plant open by May of 2014,” Shepard said. “That’s what we intend to keep doing.”
But Wigyul says he believes construction will be forced to a halt in a few weeks when the supreme court decision takes effect.
“The permit for this power plant is going to be gone and at that point, according to the law, you are not supposed to be building a plant anymore. This is really a stunning reversal for Mississippi Power,” Wigyul said.
Both sides must now wait until the Public Service Commission decides what their next move will be.
Shepard said, “We feel the evidence is there. Once the order is cleaned up, to put in layman’s terms, everything will work itself out.”
Wigyul said, “The Public Service Commission has got to re-open this proceeding, and they have got to look at all the alternatives to Kemper. I’m confident, if that happens, the Public Service Commission is going to find there are better, cheaper, less risky ways to bring electricity to the coast.”
Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, the only commissioner to vote against the power plant, released a statement about the ruling.
Presley said, “I personally wrote multi-page dissents in this case and am pleased today to see that those arguments were not in vain.”
Click HERE to read Presley’s full statement.
Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.