November 18, 2015

Strong turnout for EPA meeting

By Daniel Arens

Turnout at a meeting in Beulah regarding the Clean Power Plan exceeded all expectations.
Roughly 800 people from Mercer County communities and the surrounding area came to the Beulah Civic Center to learn more about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plan to reduce carbon emissions from local industry. The meeting was put on by the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) to discuss how the state of North Dakota could implement a plan that would meet the stipulations required by the EPA.
Many speakers at the event noted the size of the crowd at the Beulah Civic Center, thanking so many people for showing up, and adding that the presence of so many area residents sent a powerful message about the importance of coal-related issues to Mercer County.
Davd Glatt, the NDDoH Environmental Health Section Chief, explained the basic questions that the meeting was intended to address. NDDoH has until September 2016 to draft a state plan that can be submitted to the EPA for approval, although the department can request an extension. The state plan can be tailored according to the situation of North Dakota, but it must still reach the 45 percent carbon reductions required by the EPA.
“This is potentially the most catastrophic rule I’ve dealt with,” Glatt said.
Glatt said that there are three routes to handling the Clean Power Plan. First, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem is pursuing legal action against the EPA, including a suit to prevent implementation of any part of the plan until it has been thoroughly reviewed in court. Second, North Dakota lawmakers in Congress are working to either deauthorize the plan or tweak it into something more workable for the state. The final option deals with the implementation of a state plan.

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