N.D. v. Swanson: A Minnesota Carbon Emissions Case Provides Blueprint for Future State Regulation

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Stoel Rives attorney Kevin Johnson discussed with Law360 a Minnesota federal district court case that challenges a key provision of Minnesota's 2007 Next Generation Energy Act. The provision prohibits the importation of power into Minnesota from new energy facilities that contribute to carbon dioxide emissions without offsetting those emissions elsewhere. North Dakota, a state that hosts the largest deposit of lignite coal in the world, sued the state over the law in 2011 and recently moved for summary judgment, arguing the statute illegally discriminates against out-of-state coal-fired resources.

"This particular approach taken by Minnesota is unique," said Johnson, an environmental law attorney based in the firm's Minneapolis office. "Now that we've got a dispute between two bordering states front and center, other states will be watching very closely before they act."

Johnson added that similar disputes between states with differing energy policy interests should be anticipated. "When you have one state with an energy policy that has even perceived detrimental impacts on another state, it clearly has potential for litigation," he noted.

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The case is North Dakota et al. v. Swanson et al., case number 0:11-cv-03232, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.

"Minn. Carbon Emissions Case Sets Path for Future State Regs" was published by Law360, October 22, 2013.

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