Update on Kemper Coal

As many readers might be aware, the Kemper County coal project is an expensive, destructive and unnecessary, proposal to construct a new coal-fired power plant, and massive lignite coal mine in central Mississippi just north of Meridian. The plant and associated mine will impact over 3,000 acres of wetlands and disturb over 40 miles of rivers, streams and creeks – all at an enormous cost to Mississippi ratepayers.To give you a rough idea of the sheer scale of this project, check out the maps below. The brick red area shows the approximate location of the mine study area, the yellow area is the site of the power plant, and the image superimposed highlights the Okatibbee Wildlife Management Area (WMA). You’ll notice that the WMA is partially located in the study area for the mine.Last week, with the generous help of Southwings, Barbara Correro, a concerned resident of Kemper County, and I were able to fly over the site to survey what work has already been done, and get a bird’s eye view of the wetlands, forest, creeks, and streams that will be damaged by this project.Approaching the site from the south, the first sign of activity we noticed was a series of large fires burning on the horizon. Before the flight, Barbara had mentioned that she can sometimes smell the smoke from these fires at her home just north of the power plant site. As we got closer, we saw a large swath of cleared land, and demolition crews working along the edges to tear down the surrounding pine forest and feed the ongoing fires. After circling the construction site a few times, we proceeded south to take a look at Okatibbee Lake and the surrounding Wildlife Management Area that lies on the southern edge of the mine study area. It appears that Mississippi Power is moving full speed ahead with the power plant construction, but, thankfully, we did not see much evidence of ongoing work in the mine site. Check out some of the photos below:Gulf Restoration Network and our conservation partners are committed to fighting this destructive project. Sierra Club is suing over some of the environmental permits and the Mississippi Public Service Commission’s decision to approve this project. Meanwhile, the US Army Corps is still considering the permits for the destruction of thousands of acres of wetlands. Next GRN will be at a public hearing in Jackson urging the state of Mississippi to deny the wetlands destruction permits for the Kemper coal project.You can help fight this boondoggle by joining us at MDEQ headquarters (515 E. Amite Street, Jackson, Mississippi) at 9 a.m. on September 14. Check out the permit rationale here , and GRN’s comments here . If you can’t make it to the hearing, you can email your comments to Raleigh@healthygulf.org and I will hand deliver them to the permit board.Raleigh Hoke is GRN’s Mississippi Organizer

Scroll to Top