Loggers' group sues to stop shutdown of biomass power plant

Benson plant
Benson Power, formerly known as Fibrominn.
Tim Post | MPR News

The Associated Contract Loggers and Truckers of Minnesota have sued to block closure of a biomass power plant in Benson.

The plant burns wood chips and turkey litter. The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Cass County, says a shutdown would hurt the environment and cost jobs.

The Legislature authorized Xcel Energy to cancel its power purchase agreements with biomass plants in Benson, Virginia and Hibbing. Xcel is now asking the Public Utilities Commission for final approval, saying it would save consumers money.

The lawsuit asks the court to order a study of the environmental impacts of closing the Benson plant, which it calls an important market for waste wood.

Xcel declined comment on the lawsuit but said Friday it wants to replace expensive energy from those plants with something more affordable.

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