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West Fargo-area teachers James Burdick, Matthew Klaman, Aaron Rudebusch and Aaron Tank toured the Antelope Valley Station, the Coteau Properties Freedom Mine and the Great Plains Synfuels Plant as part of the recent Lignite Energy Council Teachers Seminar. Submitted photo

Teachers learn about lignite

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West Fargo teachers got to experience a role reversal in June, as they became the students at an educational seminar conducted by the Lignite Energy Council.

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The 2014 Lignite Education Seminar: Energy, Economics and Environment provided teachers with the information and educational materials they need to teach their students how lignite is mined and used to produce energy for homes, farms and businesses in the Upper Midwest. The seminar covered lignite’s economic impact on the region, as well as important environmental issues affecting the lignite industry.

The seminar, held June 16-19 at the National Energy Center of Excellence on the Bismarck State College campus included educators from Minnesota, Montana, South Dakota, Iowa, Wyoming and North Dakota.

North Dakota’s lignite industry supplies low-cost, affordable electricity to 2 million customers in the Upper Midwest. In North Dakota, about 80 percent of the electricity comes from the state’s power plants, and residential electric rates in the state are the lowest in the nation. The lignite industry also provides jobs to 4,000 employees who work at the mines and plants and another 13,000 indirect jobs.

Teachers toured the Center Mine, Milton R. Young Station, Falkirk Mine, Coal Creek Station, the Freedom Mine, Antelope Valley Station, and the Great Plains Synfuels Plant.

Teachers who attended the seminar and completed a lesson plan received credit from one of three North Dakota universities.

Since 1986, more than 3,000 teachers have attended the Lignite Energy Council’s teacher education seminar.

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