Minnesota Court of Appeals Rules for Additional Review of Natural Gas Plant

The ruling could possibly prevent Minnesota Power from participating in the construction and operation of the plant altogether.

DULTUH, Minn. – A Minnesota Court of Appeals has ordered state regulators to reconsider whether additional environmental review is necessary for the proposed Minnesota Power and Dairyland Cooperative natural gas plant.

The Nemadji Trail Energy Center would be located in Superior, WI and the Minnesota court says state regulators erred by approving the project without determining the need for the review.

The ruling could possibly prevent Minnesota Power from participating in the construction and operation of the plant altogether.

Wisconsin is already doing their own review of the plant.

“To have Minnesota indicate that it wants to evoke additional review on a project that’s being built in Wisconsin is trying to overthrow the responsibility and authority that Wisconsin has,” said Julie Pierce, the vice president of Strategy and Planning for Minnesota Power.

Others who are against the plant are rejoicing that Minnesota is potentially taking another look at the impacts that they claim were not investigated previously.

“We absolutely should not be locking in decades of greenhouse gas emissions and air and water pollution on our dime so this again is a really great opportunity to take a step back and look at some better options,” says JT Haines the spokesperson for the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy.

A student group, Friends of the Climate, actually sent in extra information to the Court of Appeals asking them to investigate again so they say this is a win.

“The climate crisis is happening the UN has declared it and that we need to be 100% renewable as soon as possible and building another gas plant does not fit into these goals,” said Izzy Laderman, member of Friends of the Climate.

What Minnesota Court of Appeals rules has no effect on whether the plant could be built or not, but they could rule on Minnesota Power’s involvement.

Minnesota Power also stresses that they are going to be 50 percent renewable by 2021 and that even though the proposed Nemadji Trail Energy Center is a fossil fueled plant, it is designed to be flexible to change to the technologies of the future.

 

 

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