Jason Bohrer, President & CEO of the Lignite Energy Council, released the following statement about the announcement of potential closure of Coal Creek Station.
'Today's announcement has the potential to be worse than the temporary lost jobs from the coronavirus that has affected families across the state. That's because closing the largest power plant in North Dakota and the adjoining mine will mean permanent jobs losses affecting 800 employees and their families. The ripple effect will cripple the economy of towns, such as Washburn and Underwood, and reduce tax revenue to school districts not only in McLean County but across the state through the coal trust fund. We believe the families are worth fighting for and we will do our best to work with interested parties to find a buyer for the Coal Creek Energy Park assets.'
Following the announcement, several state and industry leaders released statements as well.
"We have been and will continue to work on all options to keep it in operation beyond 2022. That includes continuing to work with North American Coal and others to find another owner."
“While Great River Energy decided to retire Coal Creek Station, GRE is leaving the door open for the plant to be sold and to continue operating. I, and all of North Dakota’s leaders, need to take a comprehensive approach, working with interested stakeholders and every level of government to play our part to demonstrate Coal Creek’s value. This station has given our state over 260 important jobs – and more at the Falkirk Mine – for the last 30 years. North Dakota leans on reliable energy sources like coal, which renewable sources like wind simply cannot compete with, to keep the power on. While GRE may be abandoning Coal Creek Station, we must look at all available options moving forward.”
"While this news is disappointing, Lt. Gov. Sanford and I are more determined than ever to find a path forward for Coal Creek Station that preserves high-paying jobs and keeps North Dakota’s most efficient and updated coal-fired plant on the grid to ensure baseload power capacity for our state and the region,”
“While the decision today by GRE was disappointing, this isn’t the end of the conversation about the future of the Coal Creek Station. We all understand the seriousness that this planned closure not only affects the hundreds of families that work at the plant and mine, but the towns and the communities which are the heart of coal country. I am committed to working with our local, state, and federal officials, as well as with GRE to find a solution that will keep more than 800 jobs here in North Dakota and continue to provide clean, reliable power.”
The decision announced today by Great River Energy weighs heavy on power plant workers and coal miners in ND. I am committed to continuing to work toward a solution that keeps Coal Creek Station operating and preserves the high-paying careers in coal country. ND has many unique tools at our disposal to leverage opportunities for a public-private partnership and cutting edge technological advances. Even with this announcement today, I remain optimistic we will continue our long-standing tradition of providing dispatchable, affordable and reliable power generation for our region. My thoughts are with all the families directly impacted by today’s decision. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any thoughts or questions.
Adam Duininck, Director of Government Affairs for North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters
“The news about the potential closure of Coal Creek Station is a shock to the union members who have worked and performed critical maintenance at the plant over many years. Beyond good paying jobs, Coal Creek Station has provided affordable and reliable electricity to families across the region. We are committed to working with the State of North Dakota and Governor Burgum as his administration looks for a solution to help protect the thousands of jobs that could be lost due to the closure.”