STATUS: In progress, with opposition
OPPOSITION: Dakota Resource Council, local residents
BACKGROUND: In 2001, the project developer began assembling mining leases. In 2003, it announced a plan to develop a 500 megawatt, lignite-fired electric generating plant and lignite mine. In 2005 it filed an application with the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDH) for an air permit-to-construct for the South Heart Power Project. In August 2007, the developer withdrew the application. In January 2008 the developer proposed a $1.4 billion coal gasification plant and mine facility. In April, a local special interest group and citizens sued to overturn local zoning for the facility. In October, developer applied for a permit from the North Dakota Public Service Commission (PSC). In November, the PUC sent the developer a deficiency letter. In 2009, the design changed and the developer resubmitted its application. In March 2010, the developer applied for a permit to operate a coal mine to provide feedstock for the gasification facility. In April another zoning application, this one allowing operation of the gasification plant, was approved. In May, the opponents sued. In July, the lignite drying and treatment facility began operating. In November, the mining permit was returned with ten identified deficiencies. The developer reaffirmed its intention to build a power plant near the mining site.
Opponents have focused on the environmental disruption associated with mining activities. The zoning appeal is pending.
LAST UPDATED: November 30, 2010