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Indiana Senate panel waters down coal-gas measure

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 12:59 pm

INDIANAPOLIS — A Senate committee is leaving a contentious battle over a proposed $3 billion coal-gasification plant in the Indiana Supreme Court's hands for now.

A proposal taken up Thursday by the Senate utilities committee would have forced the plant's developers to refund rate hikes caused by their 30-year contract with the state before the end of that deal.

But lawmakers stripped out that provision and left the overall question of the contract's validity to the state Supreme Court. They also added in new protections for ratepayers if the court kicks the issue back to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

The panel voted 7-2 to approve the amended bill.

The proposed Rockport plant has pitted southwestern Indiana lawmakers and the New York-based developer against environmentalists, consumer advocates and large ratepayers this session.