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As a show of Minnesota’s support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s embattled Clean Power Plan the state’s pollution control agency unveiled a new website dedicated to explaining the federal directive.

The Clean Power Plan sets carbon reduction goals for every state and provides strategies for meeting them. On Feb. 9 the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay that halts the execution of the plan until legal challenges to it have been decided by the courts.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Clean Power Plan website offers four sections – a  primer on the rule; an invitation to join in discussions about the rule being held around the state; an “indepth” section looking at its own rulemaking as well as mass-based and rate-based strategies. A final section speaks to climate change in Minnesota.

PCA Commissioner David Thornton said the website is an attempt by the state to make work on the Clean Power Plan “transparent” and to reach “as many people as possible. There’s a lot of information being generated and more will be generated over the next months and years.”

The Clean Power Plan 101 includes a statement from Gov. Mark Dayton that followed the Supreme Court’s decision: “While the Court’s temporary stay is disappointing, it does nothing to diminish our resolve in Minnesota to keep moving forward on clean energy initiatives, including the development of our state’s Clean Power Plan.”

The website points out the plan will promote energy efficiency and renewable energy, natural gas and adding pollution improvements to current plants. The public, said Thornton, is encouraged to participate in upcoming listening sessions on the plan, two of which have been held, at various locations around the state.

Every listening session has the same schedule, with an open house from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. where participants can speak to MPCA staff. The following two hours feature a brief presentation followed by a question and answer session.

Although Thornton was not at the first meeting he said he heard “there was a good turnout of people who represent both sides of the issue.”

Frank Jossi

Frank is an independent journalist and consultant based in St. Paul and a longtime contributor to Midwest Energy News. His articles have appeared in more than 50 publications, including Minnesota Monthly, Wired, the Los Angeles Times, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota Technology, Finance & Commerce and others. Frank has also been a Humphrey policy fellow at the University of Minnesota, a Fulbright journalism teacher in Pakistan and Albania, and a program director of the World Press Institute at Macalester College.