coal mine

Long before North Dakota tapped its oil, there was lignite coal mining. And a century ago, the state engineer was tasked with inspecting those mines and building a report.

From 1908 to 1911 lignite production increased about fifteen percent each year. Sixty-five mines were in operation in 1908, up to 100 by 1911. Almost eleven hundred men worked the state’s coal mines in the winter of 1911, and over three hundred through the summer, averaging six months out of the year in the mines.

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.