Thanks for opposing EPA’s haze plan

We at Minnkota Power would like to thank those who voiced concerns about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to take over a portion of North Dakota’s regional haze plan.

The outcome will significantly affect the price of electricity.

Mac McLennan, president and CEO of Minnkota Power Cooperative

North Dakota worked for years to arrive at the best way for Minnkota’s Young Station to reduce emissions. Unfortunately, the plan the EPA is pursuing mandates a technology that is more costly, doesn’t improve visibility enough for people to see and hasn’t even been proven to work on North Dakota lignite coal.

As a member-owned generation and transmission cooperative, we want to make sure the consumers we serve are informed about the consequences of the two approaches to reduce regional haze — the EPA plan and the state plan.

In recent months, there has been a lot of information in the media about those plans. We asked consumers of Minnkota’s member cooperatives and the Northern Municipal Power Agency to go to http://www.stopEPAnd.com and register concerns during the comment period on the EPA’s proposed plan.

We are pleased that more than 3,200 individuals did just that.

The comment period has ended, and now the EPA must consider all comments it received before issuing its final plan in early 2012.

Despite all the work completed by the state and all the evidence now submitted to the EPA during the comment period showing the significant negative impacts of the EPA’s plan, the Sierra Club recently decided it needed to enter the discussion. The Sierra Club released a “study” arguing that rates our end-use consumers pay wouldn’t jump significantly under the EPA plan versus the state plan.

Here’s the real story: The Sierra Club “study” didn’t even do an apples-to-apples comparison when looking at the state vs. EPA plans. It simply had a person write a study that would support conclusions that the group already had made.

The fact remains that the EPA plan would cost some $700 million more than the state plan, including $500 million for Minnkota.

If the EPA’s plan moves forward, there will be significant rate increases.

Thanks again to rural cooperative end-use consumers, municipal consumers and other supporters. With their help, we will keep pushing the EPA to accept the state plan.

Mac McLennan

 McLennan is president and CEO of Minnkota Power Cooperative.

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