Great River Energy says it's facing some financial woes at it's Coal Creek Station power plant. While coal power has seen some tough sledding nationally, this may be the first indication of those problems coming to North Dakota, where traditionally, the coal industry has proven more resilient.
In this episode of Plain Talk, Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., says Great River's problems are due in no small part to the way the government has picked winners and losers in the energy market. Policies promoting wind power have harmed coal's ability to compete on a level playing field. He says last year he even went so far as to hold up a Trump administration appointee to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) because he wants the federal government to start recognizing the inherent value in constant, dispatchable energy of the sort coal and nuclear power plants produce.
"I'm passionate about this topic," he said.
"If we don't act and a lot of places like Coal Creek do shut down ... there will be no baseload electricity," he said, noting that power sources like wind and solar, despite the preferential political treatment they receive, are intermittent sources of power.
Cramer also said some of the blow-back Utah Sen. Mitt Romney is receiving for voting against acquittal for President Donald Trump is "wrong." He described it as "very harsh" and "very inappropriate."
He said a proposed constitutional amendment from Florida Sen. Rick Scott, to raise the threshold for passing articles of impeachment in the House of Representatives, to 60 votes is "worth looking at" but that he prefers the "simple majority piece that makes the House the House."
Cramer also commented on the State of the Union speech.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, a North Dakota political blog, is a Forum Communications commentator. Listen to his Plain Talk Podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RobPort.