North Dakota welcomes Clean Power Plan withdrawal

Oct 10, 2017

Coal plants like this one in western North Dakota burn lignite mined nearby to generate electricity.
Credit Amy Sisk / Prairie Public

Officials across coal-rich states are cheering an announcement that the Environmental Protection Agency will withdraw the Clean Power Plan. Now, attention turns to how the nation will address greenhouse gas emissions going forward.


The rule put in place by the Obama administration would have required North Dakota to reduce its carbon emissions 45 percent by 2030. The state’s coal industry worried this would force utilities to shut down some coal-fired power plants and, subsequently, the coal mines that feed lignite to these facilities.

State officials are praising EPA chief Scott Pruitt for rescinding that regulation, but the big question facing the agency is how now to go about regulating carbon emissions.

"We need to get input the from the experts, from the industry, policymakers and others to figure out what that should be, but it needs to be something common sense that encourages the kind of development that we’re talking about today," said Sen. John Hoeven, speaking in Bismarck Tuesday at the Great Plains and EmPower North Dakota Energy Conference.

At the conference, he touted the state's efforts in developing clean coal technology to capture carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.

This won’t be the last time the Clean Power Plan hits the news. Several Democratic attorneys general plan to sue the EPA over the withdrawal, and the EPA must undergo a public comment process to get rid of the rule.