Oil, coal and wind are big business in North Dakota.
While North Dakota ranks number 2 in the nation in oil production, black gold isn't the only energy sector powering the country.
Reporter Sarah Gustin has more on the future of coal in the US.
Roughly 30 million tons of this energy producing power are pulled out of the ground every year in North Dakota.
The BNI Center Mine at the Milton Young Station is one of 4 mines in the state, busy digging and reclaiming--contributing 4.5 million tons of coal to the state's total.
(Wade Boeshans / BNI Coal General Manager) "Coal production in North Dakota has been pretty steady for the last 20 years. In other words, there hasn't been any new facilities built since the mid 80s."
It's a mine to mouth system.
Everyday crews truck 20-thousand tons of coal from this mine to the Minnkota Power Station, just a few miles away.
("Sarah Gustin / firstname.lastname@example.org) "Supplying this 700 megawatt hour facility with the coal it needs to produce power for eastern part of the state as well as north west Minnesota.
(Wade Boeshans / BNI Coal General Manager)"Because lignite is a high moisture coal. It's not transported a long distance because you are basically transporting a lot of water."
Boeshans says while coal production levels have stayed fairly stable, he says a soft power market, slow economy, warm winter and more gas moving into the market are all factors in national coal production dropping 6% in 2011.
(Wade Boeshans / BNI Coal General Manager) "We are running at less than full capacity from midnight to five in the morning, those period of times where the market is lower. So the result of that we see some curtailment but not significant."
Boeshans says one of the biggest concerns in the industry, isn't the oil to the west, but current and future government regulations.
(Wade Boeshans / BNI Coal General Manager) "Think that at the end of the day all of our energy resources are going to be needed in the future. So there is a place for coal in that. We are approaching the point of reaching near zero emissions. I think that is in our future. But, the current regulations are taking it off the table as a potential source as fuel for the future, as energy for the future. And that is very concerning to us."
In Center for KX News, I am Sarah Gustin.