- The National Mining Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, and 5 other groups filed amicus briefs on behalf of North Dakota in its legal fight against Minnesota’s Next Generation Energy Act (NGEA) in the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Minnesota appealed an April 2014 federal ruling that its 2007 clean energy law violates the U.S. Constitution’s Interstate Commerce Clause by preventing utilities from importing coal-generated electricity from neighboring states.
- Nine environmental and renewable energy groups, including SEIA and AWEA, filed amicus briefs in defense of Minnesota, arguing that a North Dakota victory could threaten aspects of the 29 U.S. renewables mandates that are similar to the NGEA’s requirement that Xcel Energy get 31.5% of its power from renewables by 2025.
A major concern for Minnesota in the legal struggle is that North Dakota’s lignite is the most polluting type of coal.
The April decision against Minnesota "was a victory for the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution, the real winners are the residents of North Dakota, Minnesota and the entire Upper Midwest,” said Jason Bohrer, President and CEO, Lignite Energy Council. It “secured a more prosperous future for those who rely on affordable, reliable electricity."
Some 37 attorneys have filed amicus briefs with the Eighth Circuit Court in the Minnesota-North Dakota appeal. Those backing North Dakota broadly argue the law violates principles of free market competition. Some believe the Minnesota law, designed to regulate in-state utilities, could unfairly apply to power companies with multi-state footprints.
Renewables advocates said the April ruling increased the importance of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and other of its pollution control rules in limiting future greenhouse gas emissions and other coal plant pollutants.