In 2010, construction began on the Kemper Power Plant, touted as the pinnacle of the movement to bring “clean coal” to America. The plant—which was intended to be the largest of its kind and a proof-of-concept for future plants to follow—then spent the next 11 years trying and failing to become operational, while Southern Power, the monopoly that owned it, fobbed the costs of its ill-conceived venture off on Kemper County residents.
Despite the fact that the plant never provided clean-coal power to a single person, local people saw their utility bills go up and up as the years wore on—until one day, the plant itself went down.
The disaster of the Kemper Power Plant was merely the most recent in a long series of unethical actions taken by Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Power. Their stunning corporate greed and long history of disregard for the communities of color they disproportionately harm led Arm in Arm, a coalition dedicated to centering racial and economic justice and ending the climate crisis, to launch the Power 4 Southern People NOT Southern Power campaign.
Then-U.S. Majority Leader Trent Lott pushed the “clean coal” Kemper project in De Kalb, Miss., saying in 2006 that it would “help strengthen America’s economy and protect our national security, making us less dependent on unpredictable, sometimes hostile, foreign nations for our energy needs.” Photo courtesy US Senate
Power 4 Southern People aims to take power out of the hands of corporate energy monopolies and the corrupt politicians who feed them and return it where it belongs: to the people. This moment marks the one-year anniversary of the Kemper Plant implosion and Mississippi Power’s exploitation—a glaring culmination of years of climate injustice inequities affecting thousands of people in communities across the state.
No Accident of Nature
In the early hours of October 9, 2021, houses in Kemper County shook as though from an earthquake. But this was no accident of nature. This was the planned partial implosion of the Kemper Power Plant. Residents were not informed of the plan to demolish a section of the $7.5-billion dollar plant—but
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