Bill Glahn is the former Director of Energy Security under Gov. Pawlenty:
It was a big week at the state legislature for energy and related issues, but less than two weeks remain in the regular session.
Repeal of Coal Power Moratorium Moves Forward
On Wednesday, the House passed its version of Senate File 86, a bill to overturn the moratorium on new coal-fired power plants. The House narrowed the Senate version to legalize up to 2,500 MW of out-of-state coal power plants in an effort to gain support from Governor Dayton for the bill. New coal plants in Minnesota would still be prohibited in the House version. The bill did gain the support of a handful of Democrats in passing 76-54. The bill will now go to a conference committee to reconcile the different versions.
Confirmation of PUC Chair in Doubt
On Thursday, the Senate Energy Committee held a hearing on the confirmation of former state Senator Ellen Anderson as Chair of the Public Utilities Commission. The nominee was questioned for several hours by committee members, who voted to send the nomination to the floor, without a recommendation for approval. An effort to vote in favor of the appointment failed on a party-line vote. Minnesota Public Radio reports that this action by the committee—to fail to support the nomination—puts Chair Anderson’s confirmation in jeopardy by the full Senate. See
Other Bills Moving Along
Conferees continued work on the Environment/Energy and Transportation budget bills this week. The omnibus energy policy bill awaits floor action in the Senate and the House version is awaiting a hearing in the Ways and Means Committee.
For those who follow the legislature, the next week-and-a-half will be exciting.