Hi Michael - Limiting the law's reach to the utilities' contracts would be helpful in reducing the Constitutional risk. MN argued in this case that the law was a traditional resource planning statute, akin to State regulators telling a utility that a coal-fired plant is not a prudent investment. But the Judge in this case was focused on the words in the statute, and decided that its application to any "person," not just Minnesota utilites, meant that it could apply to entities that have no connection to Minnesota. She found that to be an unconstitutional overreach by Minnesota.
If the law had said Minnesota utilities, not "person," she may have still had a problem with another aspect of the law, not discussed above. The law prohibits new long-term power purchase agreements with a plant that would increase the State's GHG emissions. But, a new contract is allowed if the project includes GHG offsets that meet the requirements of Minnesota regulators. As the law was written, it required the "project proponent," which could be an out-of-state plant, to obtain approval of Minnesota regulators. Had the law required a MN entity to get approval, she might have seen things differently.
As for whether or not the law was moot, there are few (if any) new coal-fired power plants being proposed. EPA's new standards for GHGs will require new coal plants to use CCS. The statute did not include an exemption for facilities using CCS.