NEW YORK, Feb 18 (Reuters) - The Minnesota House of Representatives on Thursday overwhelmingly voted to lift a ban on the construction of new nuclear power plants in the state.
Minnesota enacted the moratorium on new nuclear plants in 1994.
Xcel Energy Inc (XEL.N) operates two nuclear power plants in the state at Monticello and Prairie Island. The company to date has not proposed building any new reactors in Minnesota.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Joyce Peppin (R-Rogers) and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch (R-Buffalo). It passed 81-50 as amended by the House.
The bill now goes back to the Senate, which passed its version 50-14 on Feb. 2.
Specifically, the bill removes the ban on allowing the Public Utilities Commission to issue a certificate of need for the construction or expansion of nuclear power facilities.
“We have taken our two workhorses off the table,” Peppin said of the moratoriums on nuclear- and coal-generated electricity.
Peppin said nuclear power needs to be one of the options for future energy needs but the ban has prevented, or discouraged, stakeholders from having those discussions. (Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by John Picinich)