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Developers suspend most Rockport gas plant work

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 Developers suspended work Tuesday on a $2.8 billion coal-gasification plant proposed for southwest Indiana — other than a pending appeal before the Indiana Supreme Court — days after the Legislature approved a bill that backers said effectively killed the project.

Indiana Gasification LLC project manager Mark Lubbers told the Evansville Courier & Press that the project might be dead even if the Supreme Court were to hear its appeal and the company prevailed.

"The judgment of the state is very clear: Neither the legislature nor the governor support the contract or the project," Lubbers said.

He said the project was "dead" if the high court passes on its appeal of an Indiana Court of Appeals ruling that invalidated a portion of the company's contract with the Indiana Finance Authority requiring the state to buy and resell the plant's synthetic natural gas for 30 years.

"If we win, however, only a clear reversal of position by the governor would enable the project to go forward," Lubbers said.

The project was backed enthusiastically by former Gov. Mitch Daniels, a close ally of Lubbers, but Pence has been lukewarm toward the project. Pence had no immediate comment Tuesday on Lubbers' comments.

Legislation approved Saturday requires regulators to give a new review to gas-supply contract. The bill directed the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to consider new ratepayer protections that were not in place under Daniels.

Opponents of the Rockport plant including natural gas utility Vectren Corp have said the contract would cost Indiana utility customers as much as $1.1 billion in higher rates.

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  • Woo-hoo!
    Reading Lubbers's whiny comments made my day. I don't think the legislature got much right this session, but this was one time where I absolutely agreed with what they did. At least we may have managed to avoid one boondoggle from Mitch Daniels and company.
  • Let Go of Your Gas
    Lubbers just found out the gas man is not coming. Maybe he can get a real job that won't destroy the environment. Clean coal is an oxymoron.
  • How about a fair contract
    Maybe Lubbers can go draw unemployment since he cannot feed at the public trough. Pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered. Sounds like the governor and legislature saw the contract as one-sided. I do not feel sorry this developer....
  • Great news!!
    This is such wonderful news. Makes me want to start singing Ding Dong the Witch is Dead at the top of my lungs!!

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