Hoeven Outlines Efforts to Ensure Future of ND Lignite, Promote Affordability & Reliability of the Grid

Senator: Biden Administration’s Green New Deal Threatens U.S. Energy Security, Will Needlessly Increase Costs for Consumers

BISMARCK, N.D. – At the Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s annual meeting today, Senator John Hoeven outlined efforts to ensure access to affordable and reliable baseload power and push back on the Biden administration’s burdensome Green New Deal agenda. Hoeven delivered the remarks as part of a panel discussion with Senators Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.). Specifically, Hoeven discussed efforts to:

  • Help ensure coal’s continued role in the nation’s energy mix by advancing the development of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies, including at the Great Plains Synfuels Plant. Efforts are underway to expand CCUS at the plant, which would make the facility:
    • The largest coal-based CCUS project utilizing geologic storage in the world.
    • The first project in the U.S. to utilize both enhanced oil recovery and geologic storage.
  • Prevent the Biden administration from reviving the Obama-era Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS) rule targeting coal-fired electric power plants.
    • Hoeven plans to lead a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution of disapproval to block the MATS rule, should it be finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 
  • Press the EPA to withdraw its Clean Power Plan 2.0.
    • This proposal runs counter to a 2022 Supreme Court ruling that the EPA does not have the authority to issue sector-wide regulations that would force states to change their fuel sources for electricity generation.
  • Restore the mission of the National Coal Council (NCC).

“Through promoting innovation and the right kind of legal, tax and regulatory environment, North Dakota is leading the way in producing more energy for our nation, while maintaining good environmental stewardship,” said Hoeven. “That’s the kind of approach we need at the federal level to restore U.S. energy security and keep prices low for consumers. Instead, the Biden administration insists on advancing its costly and burdensome Green New Deal agenda, which threatens our access to affordable and reliable baseload power sources, like coal. We will continue working to push back on this regulatory onslaught while securing the future of our coal industry.”

Pushing Back on the Costly MATS Rule

The MATS rule would impose a costly mandate on North Dakota’s lignite-fired power plants, threatening the reliability of the grid and increasing costs for consumers. When first advanced under the Obama administration in 2012, this regulation contributed to the closure of numerous power plants, before being struck down by the Supreme Court in 2015.

The Biden administration is now attempting to revive this rule using the same justification that was rejected by the Supreme Court, despite a 2020 review by the EPA that found the existing cost-effective regulations are protective of human health and safety. Accordingly, Hoeven and Daines led an effort in June pressing the EPA to withdraw the proposed rule.

Restoring the NCC Mission

The NCC was a federal advisory committee that provided advice, recommendations and insights to the Department of Energy (DOE) on issues related to the coal industry. Originally established in 1984, the NCC was comprised of coal producers and consumers, carbon researchers, academics, environmentalists and policy experts. The council’s core mission was to advance innovation and technological development, enabling the U.S. to continue utilizing its abundant coal resources while improving environmental stewardship.

However, the Biden administration allowed the NCC’s charter to expire in November 2021 and re-chartered the agency last year, changing its focus away from the responsible development and more innovative uses of coal. In response, Hoeven is sponsoring legislation to permanently extend the NCC’s charter as it existed prior to its expiration, preserving the council’s core mission.