Meridian Star


August 28, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


MERIDIAN — Cheri M. Barry, Mayor

Response to column on coal plant

    This letter is in response to Bill Crawford’s recent column concerning the Kemper County Coal Plant.

    In it, he asserts, “The innovative technology used in the plant, now under construction in Kemper County, will turn Mississippi lignite coal into gas for power generation. Carbon emission sequestration and other innovations will make this abundant, cheap fuel source as ‘clean’ as natural gas.”

    Evidently, Mr. Crawford was not at the Public Service Commission meeting where Mr. Anderson, a Mississippi Power official, testified under oath that he didn’t know whether the new technology would even work. This was just before the commissioners rightly voted to deny a rate increase to pay for financing the company’s bloated scheme.

    Mr. Crawford wants to gloss over the fact that the plant is at least $454 million over budget, and he doesn’t even touch the fact that very few Mississippians or Mississippi companies are working on the building site.

    Like Mr. Crawford, some of us Labor folks thought this project would be an excellent opportunity for jobs, economic development and reliable, affordable energy for the customers of Mississippi Power.

    Unlike Mr. Crawford, however, we have paid attention to broken promises of stable employment, massive and unnecessary cost overruns, disregard for common workplace safety and unreasonable demands on the pocketbooks of ratepayers, among other problems prevalent in the project.

    There is a reason that bond ratings have dipped for Mississippi Power – the people who think worthy projects should produce good results don’t like what they’re seeing in Kemper County.

Neither do we.

David Newell, President of

Central Mississippi Building Trades

Thanks so much,

John Baxter!

    It was with great sadness that I recently read of the retirement of National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist John Baxter.

    As someone who has worked in public education in our community for going on 15 years, I cannot overstate Mr. Baxter’s contributions as an invaluable resource concerning potentially hazardous weather conditions.

    Mr. Baxter has always been accessible to agency heads at any hour of the day or night to provide expert information and recommendations concerning school closures. He has helped public agencies in heightening their level of preparedness and staying on the same page in coordinating closure activities.

    In short, Mr. Baxter has been the “go-to guy” for our community on weather issues. I was disappointed to read that the NWS would not be replacing him. Of course, Mr. Baxter as a person could not be replaced, but it would have been comforting from a community standpoint to at least have his position replaced.

    Thank you, John, for your many years of dedicated service to the East Mississippi/West Alabama region. Your contributions as a meteorologist were in keeping with your past service to our country as a highly decorated military veteran. In both capacities you served with distinction and honor, while also exhibiting uncommon humility. You made a difference, John, and you will be sorely missed.


Scott Elliott, president, Meridian Community College

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