North Dakota is suing Minnesota over a law that restricts the sale of coal-generated electricity.
The Minnesota law was passed in 2007 in an attempt to encourage cleaner energy sources. State lawmakers eased the restrictions on North Dakota electricity this year, but Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the changes.
North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said the law is unconstitutional because it allows Minnesota to regulate North Dakota businesses.
"It is vastly detrimental to the citizens of Minnesota who are trying to struggle out of the economic difficulties," Stenehjem said. "Clearly you'll need electricity that's affordable to do that."
Stenehjem said Minnesota is the largest consumer of electricity generated by North Dakota coal fired power plants.
"If we want to build new power plants or even refurbish existing power plants we are required to come hat in hand to the bureaucrats in Minnesota and ask for their permission to sell a product at a reasonable price to the citizens of Minnesota," he said. "That, I think, violates the terms of the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution."
Dayton's office didn't respond to requests for a comment on the lawsuit.