N.D.’s Burgum says ‘unconstitutional’ Minn. climate law must allow CCS

Source: By Jeffrey Tomich, E&E News • Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2024

A panel led by the Republican governor is pressing Minnesota regulators on the issue.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 14: North Dakota Governor Douglas James Burgum addresses the media outside of Manhattan Criminal Court on behalf of former President Donald Trump on May 14, 2024 in New York City. Former U.S. President Donald Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first of his criminal cases to go to trial. (Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R). David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

North Dakota officials led by Republican Gov. Doug Burgum and leaders in the state’s coal industry are pushing for carbon capture and storage to qualify as an eligible technology under Minnesota’s carbon-free standard, a key part of that state’s sweeping climate law enacted last year.

The North Dakota Industrial Commission, a three-member panel led by Burgum, filed formal comments with Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission late last month, expressing concerns about the Minnesota law’s constitutionality and stating that carbon capture “must be recognized as a ‘carbon-free energy technology.’” Burgum is consider a top contender to be a potential running mate for former President Donald Trump.

The 14-page letter follows threats by Burgum a year ago to sue Minnesota over the clean power law. It also signals a rare area of agreement on energy policy between Trump supporters and the Biden administration, which has strongly backed carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a tool to fight climate change. The technology is at the center of EPA’s carbon rule for power plants.

While the Minnesota climate law signed by Democratic Gov. Tim Walz last year specified that certain renewable resources are eligible to qualify as carbon-free, it’s up to the state’s Public Utilities Commission to determine the role of technologies such as CCS and hydrogen. Both technologies have received huge backing from Biden’s Department of Energy and the Inflation Reduction Act.