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Western Minn.'s Hoot Lake plant to stop burning coal

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A plan to shut down Otter Tail Power's coal burning Hoot Lake power plant by 2020 has been approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

The decision comes one day after Minnesota Power announced it planned to phase out burning coal at two of its facilities.

The Hoot Lake plant in Fergus Falls generates 140 megawatts of electricity. Otter Tail Power will invest $10 million to install pollution controls at the western Minnesota plant by 2015.

The utility will likely replace coal with natural gas in seven years. Environmental groups had wanted the PUC to force Hoot Lake to convert to natural gas sooner.