The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals on June 15 affirmed a federal judge’s ruling that struck down as unconstitutional restrictions against coal-based power plants in neighboring states imposed by Minnesota’s Next Generation Energy Act (NGEA).
North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem first sued the state of Minnesota in 2011, alleging that the Minnesota law violated the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution by restricting transmission of electricity generated in North Dakota and consumed in Minnesota unless it met that state’s carbon dioxide emission requirements.
“The Lignite Energy Council and its members both in North Dakota and throughout the United States would like to thank our Attorney General for his outstanding leadership that has led to two legal victories against Minnesota’s NextGen Act of 2007,” said Jason Bohrer, president and chief executive officer of the Lignite Energy Council.
In April 2014, the Minnesota federal district court agreed with North Dakota and ruled the Minnesota law unconstitutional. Minnesota appealed the decision to the 8th circuit and oral arguments were held in October 2015.
“Our two states – North Dakota and Minnesota – have an energy partnership that goes back several decades,” Bohrer added. “North Dakota produces affordable and reliable electricity from our state’s coal mines. Much of our electricity is exported with a majority flowing to Minnesota customers. It is our hope that this legal victory can be set aside and our two states can work together in the future on mutually beneficial energy solutions.”
The Lignite Energy Council and several of its members were party to the lawsuit originally filed in 2011.
The Lignite Energy Council is a regional trade association representing North Dakota lignite producers, electric utilities and more than 300 businesses providing goods and services to the mines and plants. The lignite industry generates approximately $3 billion in gross business volume within the state.
For more information:
Steve Van Dyke
VP – Communications
Lignite Energy Council