Local News

From the Associated Press

Indiana regulators have approved plans for a $2.65 billion coal gasification plant at the Ohio River city of Rockport and a state agency’s 30-year contract to buy its synthetic natural gas.

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission endorsed the plan that Gov. Mitch Daniels has promoted as locking in low rates for the state’s natural gas users and increasing the use of Indiana coal.

Under the deal, the Finance Authority will spend an estimated $6.9 billion over three decades to buy gas from Indiana Gasification LLC, a subsidiary of a New York-based investment firm.

The agency will sell the gas on the open market, with its sale at a loss potentially leading to higher bills for Indiana consumers.

Consumer advocates have called the deal “socialism for corporations.”

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."