"We need to make sure that coal is treated fairly," Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said on this episode of Plain Talk.

He talks about the struggles the North Dakota coal industry is facing, and what policies can be put in place to make the energy markets fairer.

Hoeven says he is working on getting the coal industry tax credits for capturing carbon. He also wants to make sure the wind industry's production tax credit is phased out — he says it should never have been renewed last year — and that the federal government "fairly values what's called capacity value."

Which is to say that Hoeven wants the coal industry to get credit — when it comes to what they can charge for their energy — for being able to provide consistent, around-the-clock power.

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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.