North Dakota's power producers knew they were going to have to reduce CO2 emissions under the EPA's new rules.
They thought it would be by about a tenth, but were shocked when it turned out to be 45 percent, 11 percent higher than the national average.
North Dakota's congressional delegation and state coal industry leaders met with the agency Wednesday to ask for leniency under this rule.
The EPA decided to allow flexibility for the state by giving the state three years to submit its implementation plan. North Dakota had only one year to do that before this meeting.
"I thought it was helpful to get them to understand the unique characteristics. I think it's helpful for us to get them to understand that North Dakota has circumstances which aren't the average, which is what I think they did which is take us to the average, rather than the unique aspects of what we're doing," said Mac McLennan, Minnkota Power president.
During the meeting, the EPA also committed to sending technical staff to the state to help utilities meet the agency's emissions targets.