North Dakota and several industry groups have sued Minnesota challenging the constitutionality of that state’s Next Generation Energy Act of 2007 (NGE A), which prohibits (i) the importation into the state of power from “any new large energy facility” that “would contribute to statewide power sector carbon dioxide emissions,” and (ii) the creation of any subsequent purchase agreements “that would increase statewide power sector carbon dioxide emissions.” North Dakota v. Swanson, No. N/A (D. Minn. filed 11/2/11).
According to the complaint, Minnesota’s law regulates beyond state borders and interferes with the free flow of goods and services in violation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Minnesota power stations generate approximately 60 percent of their electricity from coal, all of which is imported, and the state imports electricity directly from other states, such as North Dakota. The NGE A was enacted to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG ) emissions while promoting renewable energy sources and greater energy efficiency. The complaint seeks an order declaring the NGE A unconstitutional and therefore invalid and unenforceable, and an order enjoining Minnesota from enforcing it.