A contingent of Minnesota House Republicans is urging Attorney General Lori Swanson and Gov. Mark Dayton to push back against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan with a federal lawsuit.

The letter signed by 44 representatives urges Swanson to add Minnesota to several states challenging the Clean Power Plan, which mandates that Minnesota reduce carbon emissions by over 40 percent by 2030. Republicans say the state has already taken great strides to reduce its carbon emissions, and that adhering to the mandate could come at great costs.

“Not only will this significantly expanded scope of federal power under EPA rulemaking undermine state regulatory authority, but it will also impact the availability of affordable energy for families, businesses and communities statewide,” the letter reads. “Additionally, there is a possibility that the implementation of the Clean Power Plan could lead to the closure of coal-fired power plants in our state. Creating significant job loss and clean energy costs. These price increases will most greatly affect those who can least afford it including people with low or fixed incomes, the elderly, local schools and nursing homes.”

Similar concerns were shared last week by House Republicans on the day of a public hearing regarding the potential fate of the Sherco (Sherburne County) Generating Station, which includes three coal-fired burning towers and is the state’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide. Democrats have countered that if the plant closes, as is possible under Clean Power Plan mandates, displaced workers can be afforded benefits and transition into clean-energy jobs.  

Attorney General spokesman Ben Wogsland said the Clean Power Plan is not final until it's published in the federal registrar--likely in mid to late October. He added that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is the primary regulatory agency regarding air quality, and that Swanson's office has reached out to them regarding the letter.

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