Kemper Plant Opponents Speak Out

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Kemper County, Miss. The Kemper coal plant has been the center of controversy since the concept was first pitched.

Those in favor of the coal plant say it is sorely needed and will decrease rates. Those against it believe the current rate increase is a sign of things to come, that the whole project is an overpriced mistake.

“To say this is a mistake and should have been done differently isn't Monday morning quarterbacking," business consultant Charles Grayson says. "It was already obvious that the assumptions used to justify the plant were incorrect before it was approved."

"The forecast of their natural gas prices was one of the major assumptions they made that we feel took them down the wrong path," according to Ashy Foote, a consultant of Grayson's.

Some believe that the use of lignite coal will be detrimental to the environment and that natural gas would have been cheaper and cleaner solution. The two men say that a few assumptions were made in deciding to build the plant and that those assumptions were wrong. The Kemper plant is a one of a kind high tech plant, but even that was a costly mistake

"The gasifier is where all the costs overrun are occurring, that’s where the mistake was made, and that’s the experimental nature of the plant,” according to Grayson. “It’s still uncertain how well that plant will operate. Duke Energy built a different but similar type of plant, gasification of coal, has had tremendous troubles even after the plant was completed"

There will always two sides to any argument, but with the plant already at 80 percent complete, there is nothing left to do now but wait and see who was right.