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Judge Weighs ND Challenge To Minn. Energy Law

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ST. PAUL, (AP) – A federal judge is weighing the constitutionality of a Minnesota law that North Dakota says unfairly blocks its utilities from exporting electricity from new coal-fired power plants.

U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson heard arguments in the case Thursday in St. Paul.

Minnesota’s 2007 law is aimed at promoting renewable energy, and it bars utilities serving Minnesota from importing power from new plants unless the additional carbon emissions are offset.

Minnesota’s attorneys told the judge the law is a wise policy. But attorneys for North Dakota said it’s an unconstitutional attempt to regulate interstate commerce, and that it discriminates against the state’s utilities and coal industry.

The judge took the case under advisement. She could strike down the law, throw out the lawsuit or let the case proceed to trial.

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