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BECKER, Minn. - State officials plan to update the way they include environmental and health effects when they determine the overall cost of energy production. The move could help guide decisions ranging from the fate of aging power plants to cleaner sources of energy.

A St. Cloud Times report says the state Public Utilities Commission has agreed to update the way it considers costs. That could include taking into account issues such as climate change, infant mortality and emergency-room visits.

J. Drake Hamilton is a science policy director with the nonprofit Fresh Energy. He says the new system could cause the state to think twice before investing in certain power plants.

The state has been including external costs since 1993, but the values haven't been updated since 1996.

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