Hoeven Secures Commitment from Interior Deputy Secretary to Expedite Review of BNI Mine Plan

Senator Continues Working to Secure Approval for Center Mine

WASHINGTON – At a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee this week, Senator John Hoeven secured a commitment from Department of the Interior (DOI) Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau to expedite review of a new federal mine plan for the Center Mine. The new plan is needed to provide certainty for BNI Coal and Minnkota Power Cooperative’s continued operations. Without its approval, BNI and Minnkota would have to incur significant costs to make and implement contingency plans for developing other portions of the mine, resulting in higher electricity prices across the region. Currently, the plan has been undergoing an environmental review for 17 months.

“We secured a commitment from Deputy Secretary Beaudreau to expedite review of the federal mine plan for BNI’s Center Mine,” said Hoeven. “Interior’s delayed review has led to a tight timeline to advance the new plan, which is necessary to keep costs down for ratepayers and ensure the grid remains reliable. The new mine plan is also important in advancing Project Tundra, one of the world’s largest coal carbon capture projects. Further delays to the process only make it more difficult to advance the carbon capture project, and would bring higher electricity prices for customers across the region.” 

This is part of Hoeven’s continued efforts to secure approval for the mine plan. Last month, Hoeven arranged a meeting between North Dakota energy producers, including representatives from Minnkota and BNI, and DOI officials to press for approval of the Center Mine plan. Hoeven stressed the importance of preventing further energy price increases on American consumers and maintaining the affordability and reliability of the grid. Center Mine is owned and operated by BNI and supplies coal to the adjacent Milton R. Young Station, a 700-megawatt power plant that provides baseload electricity in North Dakota and Minnesota.