Is North Dakota about to give the coal industry a handout?

That's what critics of pro-coal legislation in Bismarck are saying, but there's another side of the story. Power sources like wind and solar have enjoyed decades of political favoritism. From heavy production subsidies to outright mandate for their use, the market has been skewed in their favor, to the detriment of baseload power like coal and even nuclear.

But recent power outages and utility bill spikes show that we may have gone too far down that road. Now North Dakota lawmakers are considering a package of tax relief and subsidies aimed at helping keep our state's coal plants open, including the largest plant, Coal Creek Station near Underwood.

For economic reasons, yes, but also for the sake of keeping our power supply in the region reliable and affordable.

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Sen. Jim Roers, a Republican from Fargo, joins this episode of Plain Talk Live at 3:30pm central standard time to discuss.

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Rob Port, founder of, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at