Thomas A Blaton On the Experimental Lignite “Science Project”
August 5, 2011 Leave a comment
Mississippi Power Kemper County Lignite Project
Tom’s speech below will explain his views regarding this Mississippi Power Project:
I am running for Public Service Commissioner, Southern district, in order that the public should be represented. I am opposed to the 45% electric bill increase which Mississippi Power Company will need to pay for this experimental lignite science project in Kemper County. Mississippi Power used its considerable political influence to obtain the passage of Senate Bill 2793 which allows regulators to charge the consumers for the construction of experimental technology even if the technology does not work. This is nothing less than radical liberal corporate socialism.
I am opposed to the public utilities filing rate increase documents in secret. At the request of Mississippi Power the rate impact information is maintained by the Public Service Commission as a confidential, non public record. No one knows how much it will cost. And in this light, the Public Service Commission voted two to one to allow Mississippi Power to go forward with this science project. Never have so few taken the power from so many. At the radio forum in Purvis, Mr. Bentz accused me of lying about the 45% increase. The only organization allowed to see the entire record is the staff of The Mississippi Business Journal, a very conservative newspaper. It is their studied opinion that the increase will be 45%. Mr. Bentz should not believe his own rhetoric that this percentage is made up by the Sierra Club.
Large electric rate increases cause taxes to go up. Even today, our schools, our cities, and our counties are raising our taxes in order that they will be able to pay Mississippi Power for this science project when the electric bills go up next year. This tax increase is the biggest tax increase in Mississippi history. We should all give credit to the leadership of Phil Bryant and the Republican Party who worked diligently to make sure that the residents of South Mississippi may have the privilege of paying these huge new taxes.
When you consider that Mississippi Power distributes mostly within towns and cities, the situation becomes even more unjust. Laurel is 55% black and has an medium income of 65% of the Mississippi median. Meridian is 54% black with a median income less than 85% of the state median. Hattiesburg is 47% black. Waynesboro is 57% black with 31% of the people living below the poverty level. Consider this: the casinos on the coast receive large electric rate discounts. The rich folk in Lamar County do not have to pay extra to make up for these discounts given by Mississippi Power because they do not buy electricity from Mississippi Power. But the poor and black folk do.
Power Companies should be made to play fair not favorites.
Every economic model put forward by Mississippi Power shows that the cheapest fuel and method of generation is to burn natural gas. Only Mr. Bentz and the management of Mississippi Power exhibit the primitive, non competitive notion that the price for natural gas is volatile. Mr. Bentz says that gas is $4.00 one day and $15.00 the next. That just is not so. And why compare day to day gas purchase practices with a 25 year coal lease with an ultra cheap royalty to the landowner. There is enough known reserves of natural gas to run Mississippi Power into the next century. And when adjusted for inflation, natural gas is cheaper now than thirty years ago when it was run by the government.
Nowhere in the testimony before the Public Service Commission does anyone mention the fact that when electric bills go up substantially, old folks die. It is estimated that for every job created by the lignite science project, an elderly person will die from temperature related illness every year. Over the life of the lignite project, more than ten thousand old folks will die. Mr. Bentz, Mr. Posey, Mr. Bryant, Mr. Barbour, this is not a good trade.
It is too much power for a power company to have.
Between 1999 and 2003, Haley Barbour received 2.9 million dollars to lobby for Southern Company, Edison Electric Institute, Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, and other energy industries. He paid the Southern Company back with 2.9 BILLION dollars of the public’s money so that they can build the experimental lignite science project. Haley was satisfied being paid only one tenth of one cent on every dollar he delivered to Southern Company. Folks that is chump change. I cannot believe that we were so gullible to elect someone Governor of our state that is so cheap. Cheap. Cheap.
We will never get out of the economic cellar as long as we tolerate these liberal Republican policies which destroy our natural wealth for the benefit of the Yankee carpetbaggers and their liberal fellow travelers.
You may recall my efforts to block the Republican plan to use Richton Salt Dome as a nuclear dump. You may recall my efforts to stop the dumping of New York City’s garbage in Stone and Greene Counties. You may recall my efforts to stop gravel mining in Okatoma Creek. I opposed Kirk Fordyce’s plan to build 2,000 pig farms in North Mississippi with no sewage controls. All of these efforts were successful. I never asked for a dime in compensation.
I lead the legislative efforts, as a citizen activist, to create The Scenic Streams Program. When I activated my telephone tree, the switchboard in the state capitol building caught on fire. I was active in rewriting the gravel mining laws of Mississippi to protect our streams and in the rewriting of the laws regarding hazardous waste dumps in Mississippi. At my suggestion, our state set up one of the most successful hazardous waste recycling efforts in America. I helped build the public support for the Pine Belt Regional Landfill.
I ask for your vote for Public Service Commissioner, Southern District. I will work for you. I am strong enough, tough enough, and smart enough to stand up to the utilities and their paid lobbyists. Let’s stop the 45% electric bill increase. Lets repeal Senate Bill 2793. Elect Thomas A. Blanton your Public Service Commissioner. I really will save you money!
*Note: the Senate Bill 2793 is now Mississippi Code section 77-3-101 through 77-3-109.