Motion filed to delay dismissal of Kemper lawsuits

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 5, 2014 at 1:30 pm •  Published: August 5, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Hattiesburg businessman is not giving up on his challenge to a coal-fired power plant being built by Mississippi Power Company in Kemper County.

In a motion filed Monday with the Mississippi Supreme Court, Thomas Blanton asked the justices to delay dismissing lawsuits against the power plant until they address his constitutional challenge to the 2008 Baseload Act. The law allows utilities to raise rates to pay for new power plants before they begin generating electricity.

Blanton, who has aimed his lawsuit at Kemper, says collecting from customers before a power plant is turned on is unconstitutional.

His motion was filed the same day the Sierra Club and Mississippi Power announced they'd settled their differences and would seek dismissal of all lawsuits against the Kemper plant.

The Supreme Court consolidated Blanton's lawsuit with two others challenging Mississippi Power Company's construction of the plant in eastern Mississippi.

Blanton argues in his motion that dismissal of the lawsuits is not in the best interest of the public.

The court has not ruled on Blanton's motion. The court has also not ruled on the motion filed by the Sierra Club and Mississippi Power.

Mississippi Power spokesman Jeff Shepard said company officials were reviewing Blanton's motion.

In their motion to dismiss the lawsuits, the Sierra Club and Mississippi Power said other parties "have been consulted and state that they do not object to this motion."

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