Coal Supply Plan Ordered for BNSF

Federal regulators have ordered the BNSF Railway to come up with a plan to supply power plants in Minnesota and other states with enough coal to get them through the winter.

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board cites supply problems at Minnesota Power Co. and Otter Tail Power Co. in particular.

The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reports the board wants to ensure that the railroad can promptly and effectively respond if coal stockpiles fall critically low due to unanticipated circumstances.

Coal shortages last year forced some power plants in the region to curtail generation of electricity, including five operated by the two Minnesota utilities.

The utilities say coal deliveries have improved lately.

BNSF spokesman Mike Trevino says the railroad will comply with the STB’s request for a contingency plan.