A ruling from the Indiana Supreme Court appears to open the way for construction of a planned coal gasification plant in Rockport in southern Indiana.
Opponents had argued that the developer‘s contract with the Indiana Finance Authority made the agreement invalid.
The contract provides that the state will buy synthetic natural gas produced by the plant for 30 years at a fixed rate. The state would then resell the product to those “end use customers.”
But with natural gas prices dropping, some worry the state will end up paying more than should for the energy and that cost could get passed on to ratepayers.
The state‘s highest court ruled that the change in the definition of “retail end use customers” was compatible with the Substitute Natural Gas Act passed four years ago by the General Assembly.
The IndyStar reports the Supreme Court’s decision clears the way for the project to move forward.
Project director Mark Lubbers called it a “total victory.”
Still, the project faces at least one more hurdle: Final contract approval from the Indiana Finance Authority, whose five-member board is appointed by the governor.
In the past, Lubbers has said the company, a subsidiary of New York-based Leucadia National Corp., “won’t spend another dime unless we know that the governor is supportive.”
The governor’s spokesperson has indicated he is still reviewing the ruling.