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Judge strikes down Minnesota rules on out-of-state power plants

ST. PAUL — A federal judge has blocked restrictions set by the state of Minnesota that tried to limit businesses in North Dakota and other states from building coal-fired power plants and selling the electricity in Minnesota.

The ruling issued Friday found that Minnesota’s Next Generation Energy Act, which barred new out-of-state fossil fuel power plants from transporting energy into Minnesota, violated the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The law was passed to regulate carbon dioxide emissions and the creation of fossil fuel energy production by barring any utility in Minnesota from importing energy from an out-of-state fossil-fuel-powered plant built after Jan. 1, 2007.

The case, filed in 2011 by the state of North Dakota along with several energy industry interests, was heard by Judge Susan Richard Nelson in U.S. District Court in St. Paul.

In a statement, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said the state would appeal the ruling.

“I will defend the State of Minnesota’s right to protect the quality of the air our citizens breathe,” he said.”

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