Gov. Tim Walz signed a controversial clean energy bill into law Tuesday under the threat of a lawsuit from North Dakota.
The bill will require Minnesota’s electricity grid to be 100% carbon-free by 2040.
“Climate change impacts lives and livelihoods in every corner of our state,” Walz said in a press release. “Minnesota will continue to lead the way on combating climate change and we’ll create clean energy jobs in the process. This bill is an essential investment in our future that will continue to pay off for generations to come.”
Republicans unsuccessfully attempted to amend the bill to explicitly allow nuclear, renewable natural gas, and hydroelectric energy to count towards Minnesota’s clean-energy goals.
Minnesota Democrats rejected an amendment to ensure that reliability is considered in their 100% clean energy plan. The bill is now on its way to Gov. Walz's desk. pic.twitter.com/1e77WBzWx8
— Alpha News (@AlphaNewsMN) February 7, 2023
North Dakota’s Industrial Commission urged Minnesota legislators to clarify that the carbon-free requirement only applies to electricity generated within Minnesota.
Since this request was ignored, North Dakota is now planning to sue Minnesota for violating the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
“This isn’t about the environment. This is about state sovereignty,” said North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who chairs the Industrial Commission, according to Inforum.
North Dakota exports roughly 50% of its electricity and most of that goes to Minnesota, The Bismarck Tribune reported.
According to the Associated Press, Minnesota lost to North Dakota in a 2007 lawsuit dealing with similar clean-energy standards.
In response to the threat of litigation, Walz urged his neighbors to get with the times.
“The fact of the matter is, Minnesota is moving into the future and they’re going to have to come sometime,” he said.