By Joe Smyth | @joesmyth
Minnesota’s Attorney General thinks utility ratepayers should not be forced to fund the Lignite Energy Council, a coal industry group that has opposed clean energy policies in Minnesota and supported policies that subsidize the coal industry in North Dakota and nationally.
The Minnesota Attorney General (AG)’s office submitted testimony to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission last month objecting to Otter Tail Power’s efforts to charge its ratepayers for dues it pays to the Lignite Energy Council. The AG’s office explained that the Lignite Energy Council does not benefit electric ratepayers in Minnesota, and is instead focused on promoting North Dakota’s coal industry.
There are two issues with the LEC [Lignite Energy Council] dues. The first is that LEC is an organization that supports North Dakota’s $18 billion lignite industry and does not provide any direct benefits to Minnesota electric ratepayers. The second is that LEC engages heavily in public affairs and legislative activities in North Dakota, Minnesota, and with the US Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to advocate for the lignite industry and coal based electricity. LEC’s activities are in direct opposition to Minnesota’s carbon-reduction goals and renewable energy standards.
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