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DRC to host meeting Thursday

DICKINSON - Bringing in someone with experience to talk about aspects of living near a coal-based plant and mining area is the subject of a public meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Dickinson American State Bank North Branch lower level meeting room.

"A Neighbor's Guide to Coal" is presented by the Badlands Area Resource Council, which is the southwestern North Dakota affiliate of the Dakota Resource Council (DRC).

The meeting features speaker Carrie LaSeur, who started the environmental law firm called Plains Justice in 2006 to serve people in Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and eastern Montana. La Seur is originally from Minot, graduated from the Yale Law School and is a Rhodes Scholar, stated a recent DRC press release.

The meeting's subject matter was prompted by the proposed $1.4 billion coal gasification plant project by Great Northern Power Development LLC near South Heart. Great Northern is holding its own meeting at 6:30 p.m. this evening at the South Heart Public School gymnasium.

Dakota Resource Council member and South Heart resident Mary Hodell said LaSeur's discussion was confirmed on Dec. 12, 2007. It is not centered on GNPD's meeting today.

The DRC connected the council and Hodell with LaSeur.

"We've been wanting to do this since back in October and have been working on it," Hodell said. "A few of us have done our own research on living next to a coal plant, but none of us are experts. We're not claiming to be experts."

LaSeur is to give more details about environmental impact studies, she added.

"We want to have open information to share with people," Hodell said. "She's not coming to sway anyone against the coal plant. She's coming to give information on the steps involved with an environmental impact statement, affects on water and personal stories of others who she's dealt with. This is for people to be aware (about the coal plant's affects)."

There are a lot of unanswered questions, she added.