North Dakota can’t fund insulin, which is literally life support for those in need, but legislators don’t have a problem at wasting more money on the coal industry. The lignite mined in North Dakota is such a poor fuel that it must be burned at the “mine mouth” since it isn’t profitable to transport. It is also so dirty and high in emissions that it had to be specifically exempted from the Clean Air Act.

House Bill 1452 will spend $40 million to create yet another energy fund and at least half must be given away to coal.

HB 1412 provides a five-year moratorium on collecting 60% of the current tax on the conversion of coal to electricity by power plants. Political subdivisions and lignite research would not see their tax collections cut, but the state could lose about $15 million annually in revenue

Lignite coal will die naturally, if allowed. As always, the only ones benefiting are those who administer its nurturing, which has currently become wasting more money on industry life support measures.

"One Time Harvest", authored by M. Jacobs in 1975,stated:

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“The coal industry has come west in search of four basic resources: Cheap clean air, cheap coal, cheap water and cheap politicians. They've found each of these in North Dakota.

“To exploit the resources of the region, the industry also needs good transportation, which can be built, and complacent labor, which can be bought ....”

From here on, North Dakota should only collect what funds it still can to pay for the inevitable mitigation/cleanup costs the state will inherit.

Ron Saeger lives in Fargo.

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.