This Week: No coal for Kemper, state gives millions to private landlords and schools fumble federal grants

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Topping news in Mississippi this week:

  • Mississippi Power announced it will immediately stop lignite coal gasification operations at its Kemper County power plant. The original plans called for the so-called clean coal plant to burn lignite coal to produce synthetic gas for electricity. But, Mississippi Power has run into a number of problems with these machines called gasifiers resulting in years of lays and a $7.5 billion price tag. Last week, the Mississippi Public Service Commission advised Mississippi Power to run the power plant on natural gas instead of lignite coal.
  • According to a new state investigative report, the state of Mississippi could save millions of dollar if some agencies moved into vacant or underused state owned property. The Joint Legislative Committee of Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review, or PEER, published the report on June 13th. It says that 30 state agencies are paying a total of more than $10 million to private landlords. Most of the properties are in the Jackson metro area but not all of them. Mississippi Today has an interactive map for you to check out all the properties.
  • Only about 1 in 5 school districts with the neediest and lowest-performing schools in the state applied for a federal grant. The school improvement grants are given to individual schools that are the lowest achieving percent of school receiving Title 1 funds. Mississippi got $16 million worth of school improvement grants. The state department of education approved $11 million in grants to eight schools, leaving $5 million that it must give out or the state could lose that money.