North Dakota Just Secured The Future Of Its Clean Coal Plants

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter
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North Dakota is the first state to secure authority as of Tuesday to regulate carbon capture processes within its boundaries — a victory for the state’s coal industry.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt granted North Dakota primary regulatory authority over Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) programs, or pumping carbon deep underground to store emissions long term rather than release them into the atmosphere.

“The State of North Dakota is a proven partner in the safe and responsible development of our country’s natural resources,” Pruitt said in a statement. “We are practicing cooperative federalism and increasing the state’s involvement in local environmental protection. EPA will work with the state to ensure a smooth transition and that all North Dakotans continue to have safe drinking water.”

CCS programs are governed under the Safe Drinking Water Act and monitored to ensure emissions are secured in deep formations of rock far beneath the level from which drinking water is drawn.

North Dakota has a roughly 800-year supply of lignite coal, which will now be easier to use because coal plants can drastically cut emissions through carbon capture, according to the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC).

“This long-awaited approval provides regulatory certainty and a path forward to ensure the long-term viability of North Dakota’s lignite coal and energy generation industries through carbon capture and storage, while also benefiting the environment by reducing greenhouse gases,” North Dakota Gov. and NDIC Chair Doug Burgum said in a statement.

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