Indiana Supreme Court to review energy contract

The Indiana Supreme Court will hear arguments Thursday on a lower court ruling invalidating part of a contract that would require the state to buy synthetic natural gas from a southwestern Indiana plant and resell it on the open market for 30 years.

Indiana Gasification wants the court to overturn the ruling affecting its coal-gasification plant at the Ohio River town of Rockport, about 30 miles east of Evansville.

Opponents including the gas utility Vectren contend the contract would cost utility customers as much as $1.1 billion in higher rates.

Supreme Court Justice Mark Massa has denied opponents' requests to recuse himself from the case because of his friendship with a key official at Indiana Gasification. Critics contend that Massa’s longtime professional and personal relationship with project manager Mark Lubbers cast doubt on his impartiality.

If renegotiated, a new state contract might include new consumer protections.

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