Burnsville MN Celebrates the Last Coal Train, and a New Era Ahead

After more than 60 years, the last shipment of coal used to generate electricity for Burnsville, Minnesota arrived by train to its Xcel Energy Black Dog plant. Its smokestack will be demolished and the plant will switch to natural gas by mid-April, with plans for 63% carbon-free energy by 2030. The Black Dog plant was the fifth-largest source of air pollution in the state, according to the Environmental Protection Agency; new regulations helped the utility to make the transition, reducing mercury and carbon dioxide emissions contributing to climate change.

The extra bonus is the new greenway that will come along with the decommissioning of the coal plant. The City of Burnsville is partnering with the utility, Dakota County, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create a new park, trailhead, and wildlife viewing areas for its pedestrians, cyclists and nature lovers.

Congratulations to Mayor Elizabeth Kautz and the entire Burnsville community, and thank you for inspiring other city leaders and communities to join us on the Path to Positive!

Last Coal Train Arrives at Burnsville Plant

By Jessica Miles | ABC Eyewitness News – 5 KSTP TV | April 8, 2015

It’s the end of an era in Burnsville as the last coal train rolled into Xcel Energy’s Black Dog Plant on Wednesday.

The sights and sounds of the last coal train arriving along the Minnesota River in Burnsville will soon change. After more than 60 years, the Black Dog Plant will stop generating electricity with coal.

New Environmental Protection Agency standards would force the plant to spend money on pollution control equipment, and Xcel says it doesn’t make sense to do that.  Instead, the coal plant will turn to natural gas.

“By converting from coal to natural gas, it will have a 95 percent reduction in mercury and other pollutants. It’s just a cleaner-burning fuel,” plant director Brian Behm said.

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