BECKER - There was a huge crowd in Becker last (Monday) night discussing the future of the Sherco Power Plant. The Minnesota State Legislature's Jobs and Energy Committee held a public hearing at the Community Center.

Mayor "Lefty" Kleis stands firmly behind Xcel Energy's plant, saying "coal is one of our cheapest and most reliable ways to produce energy". Kleis says Sherco is also vital to the Becker economy.

Without Sherco I don't know what the city of Becker would do, because they pay almost 77 percent of our tax collections a year.

Kleis says it's also one of the area's biggest employers.

I believe they employ probably 300 to 400 full time people year round. And then when they have their shutdown for cleaning they bring in 800 to 1,000 people.

Kleis says the Sherco power plant produces enough electricity for over two-million homes in Minnesota.

Both the Public Utilities Commission and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency are expected to continue to discuss coal as a future energy source in Minnesota.