Merritt: Rockport hearing Thursday, vote next week

The Senate Utility Committee will hold what’s expected to be an intense hearing on the future of the Rockport coal-to-gas plant at 9:15 a.m. Thursday.

But the committee’s chairman, Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, says there won’t be an amendment and a vote on whether to advance the bill on to the full chamber until the following week.

He said Thursday’s hearing will focus on a measure by Sen. Doug Eckerty, R-Yorktown, that would require three-year “true-ups” to have developer Leucadia National Corp. reimburse Indiana ratepayers for any losses they’ve suffered.

Mark Lubbers, Leucadia’s Indiana lead, says that would stop the plant in its tracks. Instead, legislative leaders have said they’d prefer to direct the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to conduct another review of the Indiana Finance Authority’s complex 30-year deal to buy the Rockport plant’s product at a fixed rate and then resell it on the open market.

Though a vote won’t take place this Thursday, Merritt said his committee has to act next week because of Senate deadlines.

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