Barbour: US needs variety of energy sources

Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on Tuesday defended a coal-fired power plant that’s under construction in Kemper County, saying the U.S. should develop a variety of energy sources, including Mississippi-mined lignite that will be used at the plant.

As governor from 2004 to 2008, Republican Barbour signed a law that allows Mississippi Power Co. to charge higher rates to finance the Kemper plant.

Mississippi Power Co. is a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Co., which has long been represented by BGR, the Washington lobbying firm Barbour co-founded more than a decade before he became governor.

During a luncheon speech Tuesday to the Madison County Business League, Barbour acknowledged the financial link between Southern Co. and BGR. He noted after the speech that he was not working for BGR while he was governor; his assets were in a blind trust.