House OKs Revised Bill Allowing Coal Power

Power from a new coal-fired Spiritwood, N.D., power plant could be used in Minnesota under a bill senators passed 44-22 and was awaiting House approval Saturday night.

Electricity from other coal plants also could be used.

The bill is a compromise between previously passed House and Senate versions. While the Senate originally voted to allow coal power without limits, the compromise would restrict how many plants could provide power.

Existing coal-fired power plants are not affected by the bill, and the Spiritwood plan is the only one about to go on line.

“How many jobs are going to be created in North Dakota because of this legislation?” Sen. Mary Jo McGuire, DFL-Falcon Heights.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, said the question should be: how many jobs would Minnesota without adequate and affordable power?

While many Democrats complained that coal causes pollution, Rosen said modern coal plants have devices that scrub out most particles.