WARNING: Lignite Coal Litigation

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Lignite Coal Litigation

Retha Colclasure | 11/2/2011

More than 30 million tons of lignite coal are produced in North Dakota every year. That`s enough to generate electricity for more than 2 million people. Much of that coal is sold to Minnesota. But a law in Minnesota makes it nearly impossible for that to continue.

North Dakota attorney general Wayne Stenehjem announced this morning that he filed a lawsuit against Minnesota over its Next Generation Energy Act.

North Dakota is home to the largest single deposit of lignite coal in the world. It`s more coal than a state with fewer than 650,000 people needs, so selling the coal to other states is big business.

“The future of the lignite industry is at stake, because we cannot develop new projects with a law that basically says that they shall decide how many CO2 emissions and what form and what technology should be used,” said John Dwyer, with the Lignite Energy Council.

He`s talking about a 2007 law passed by Minnesota`s state legislature. The Next Generation Energy Act imposes strict restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generated outside of Minnesota but used within the state`s borders.

Note the this CO2 emissions regulations is based on FAKE FALSE science that is now under Inspector General investigation.  here.


Stenehjem said, “In practical effect, Minnesota has subjected energy projects located out of Minnesota to onerous regulatory burdens.”

Stenehjem says it`s not only burdensome, it`s against the Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution. So he filed a federal lawsuit, with the backing of several major coal industries.

“To single out one source of energy over another, particularly in this case, coal, I`ve never fully understood,” added Ron Harper, CEO and general manager of Basin Electric Poser Cooperative.

Stenehjem says North Dakota is a vital source of electricity for Minnesota consumers, and in turn, Minnesota had been a good business partner for the coal industry here. But he says this law gets in the way of that.

Stenehjem says because of the chilling effects of the Act, less coal will be mined in North Dakota causing a detriment to the state`s industry.

Minnesota`s legislature had voted to overturn parts of the act this year, but that was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton. Several exemptions to the law had been made for companies located in Minnesota or owned by Minnesota-based companies.

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