Randy Christmann, Public Service Commissioner
The Lignite Research Council (LRC) is a group of mostly industry people, but also includes a few state gov't. people, including 2 legislators, the state geologist, and a member of the PSC.
North Dakota has a fund for lignite research. The primary funding source is a tax on coal. The LRC evaluates proposed research projects seeking funding. The LRC meets Thursday.
This week we have a very exciting proposal regarding "rare earth elements" which are found in our coal. We have done some lab research in the past which had very positive results. The current proposal would expand this research to a pilot-scale project. I'm very excited about this project because these rare earth elements are not currently being produced at all in America, they are essential for many of our modern electronics, and they could potentially add a lot of value to ND lignite!