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Duluth Student Group Joins Appeal Challenging Minnesota Power Gas Plant

Updated: June 07, 2019 06:15 PM

Minnesota Power's plan to build a new gas plant in Superior was approved in October by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

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The decision has been appealed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals by the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, the Sierra Club, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Five Duluth-area high school and college students comprise the group "Friends of the Climate," which has been granted leave to file an amicus curiae (Friend of the Court) brief in the case.

Friends of the Climate member Izzy Laderman said, "We are amicus curiae, or 'friends of the court,' so we don't have a personal connection and we're not appealing the decision, we're just saying, 'Hey, don't do it because it affects our future.'"

The briefs are scheduled to be filed in July. Laderman said the briefs will focus on their two main arguments, which are the long-term environmental impacts and financial impacts of the plant.

Duluth-based Minnesota Power and La Crosse, Wisconsin-based Dairyland Power would split the $700 million cost, which would be passed along to ratepayers. 

“Minnesota Power would be buying part of the plant, and that’s going to cost 350 million dollars to its customers, and that’s us, and we don’t want it,” Laderman said.

Member Bella Maki referenced the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in October of 2018 regarding a 12-year window to phase out of fossil fuels.

“I think one thing that really stands out to me with this plant that they would potentially be putting into place, would be there, I think they’re estimating for about 40 years," Maki said, "So we’re going to be doing something that’s 40 years long, when we only have 11 years to be working towards renewable energy, and towards saving this planet and ensuring that we all have a future.”

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