The Beacon News

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August 13, 2009

25 years and counting at the forefront of an industry

It was the last place you wanted to be at 4 p.m. Mountain time on any given day in 1979.

"You didn’t want to be going the opposite direction than traffic was in the morning or the afternoon," Antelope Valley Station Plant Manager John Jacobs said. "There were so many vehicles heading to work or away from work, local people tried to time trips around those times of day."

That busy era marked the height of the North Dakota coal rush, a rush that hit hard and fast in Mercer County in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In what was the beginning of what is now Coal Country, workers came in gloved droves of thousands to help construct energy plants and coal mines meant to capitalize on the region’s plentiful lignite coal reserves – and help shape the energy picture for this county, state and nation for decades to come.

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