Coalition Responds to Release of Clean Power Plan Rules

Posted August 5, 2015

Minnesota Director for the Coalition for a Secure Energy Future Joel Johnson today issued the following statement in response to release of Clean Power Plan rules

SAINT PAUL, MN – Today, President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final rules for the Clean Power Plan regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The proposed rule released over a year ago set a target reduction of 30 percent and a reduction for Minnesota at 40 percent. Despite extensive public feedback that the proposed rule would be impractical and costly to implement, the EPA has doubled down with an even more aggressive regulation that will further increase electricity costs.

Joel Johnson, Director of the Coalition for a Secure Energy Future stated, “Hardworking Minnesota families will be hardest hit due to the Obama Administration’s plan. According to Energy Ventures Analysis, the average Minnesota family would see an 18 percent increase in their electric bill and a 45 percent increase in their natural gas bill upon implementation of the plan as it was proposed. Minnesotans need an all-of-the-above energy approach, including coal which is the best way to keep electricity prices low, create jobs, and provide necessary power for our communities. A healthy balance of renewable energy, as well as traditional sources of power, is key to keeping the lights on in Minnesota and protecting the quality of life we’ve come to enjoy. It’s not realistic to meet the energy demands in Minnesota without coal as part of the energy mix.”

The implementation of the Clean Power Plan is now in the hands of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. A final plan must be submitted to the state legislature for review during the 2016 session.

Johnson continued, “Minnesota utility companies have been leading the nation in reducing carbon dioxide emissions over the last decade. Technological advancements have allowed coal-based power plants to become cleaner every decade. Minnesota utilities are projected to have reduced mercury emissions from power plants by nearly 90% in 2016 compared to mid-1990s levels. Minnesota utility companies will continue to implement new technologies to improve carbon dioxide emissions.”

About improvements already implemented by Minnesota utility companies:

The Upper Midwest’s air quality is among the cleanest in the nation. In North Dakota, that’s due in large part to the coal industry’s $2 billion investment in clean coal technologies at the state’s power plants.

Beyond that $2 billion investment, these companies have reclaimed more than 27,000 acres of mined land – about 42 square miles – in North Dakota alone since 1970. Reclaiming land after mining is a critical component of being environmentally responsible. Reclamation is a highly regulated, carefully planned and managed process that takes years to successfully complete. Mining companies must prove the reclaimed land performs as well or better than before it was mined.

North Dakota and Minnesota are consistently regarded with high awards from the American Lung Association. Minnesota’s air quality has improved significantly over the last 5-10 years, while still relying on coal generation for the majority of the state’s electricity.