Rep. Dave Nehring is a Republican from District 8, an area that covers what might fairly be described as the heart of North Dakota's coal industry.

This gives Nehring an interesting perspective on the recent energy shortages that are turning off lights here in North Dakota and across the nation.

"We can't afford to shut down any more coal plants," Nehring said on this episode of Plain Talk.

Coal Creek Station, the largest coal-fired power plant in North Dakota, is located in Nehring's district. Its owner, Great River Energy, announced its shutdown last year, responding to political pressure against so-called "black electrons" and a marketplace that has been manipulated by green energy policies.

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Nehring sees the planned closure of not just Coal Creek but coal-fired power plants across the nation as folly.

"We're on an unsustainable path to grid unreliability," he said.

What can be done about it?

At the very least, "we need to keep the status quo," he said.

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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at rport@forumcomm.com.