State ruling on Kinder Morgan plant delayed

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Business Today

JEFFERSON CITY -- A ruling in the dispute over a proposed power plant in Cape Girardeau County will be delayed by at least a month.

Kinder Morgan Power Co. is appealing a decision by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to deny the Colorado-based company a permit to operate a 530-megawatt facility near Crump unless expensive pollution control equipment is installed.

The company claims the installation of the equipment would be cost prohibitive, increasing the plant's annual operating expenses by $916,000. DNR says Kinder Morgan has not met its burden of proving the controls are not economically feasible.

The two sides argued their positions during a four days' worth of testimony before an administrative hearing officer in May. The hearing officer, St. Louis lawyer John Springborn, had originally intended to present his findings to the state Air Conservation Commission on July 25. However, Sarah McMichel, a spokeswoman for the state's air pollution control program, said the presentation has been rescheduled for Aug. 29 and could potentially be pushed back to Sept. 26.

Springborn said he needed more time to review the reams of testimony, related documents and post-hearing legal briefs in order to prepare his recommendation. He expects to complete his findings in time for the August meeting.

It is up to the commission to determine whether DNR should issue the permit, though the panel typically follows the hearing officer's recommendation. The commission's ruling will likely come at its next monthly meeting following Springborn's presentation.

Kinder Morgan spokesman Rick Rainey said he did not immediately know if the delay would have any impact on the company's plans for the Crump facility.

It has already been 19 months since Kinder Morgan originally applied for a permit in December 2000. DNR rejected the application in September 2001.

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