Wednesday, 02 September 2020 21:23

Clean Car Advocates Push for Emissions Rules

Written by Troy Mewes, Mankato Free Press


A coalition of advocates promoting more energy efficient vehicles in Minnesota is gearing up for a statewide campaign to support motor vehicle emission regulations.

Minnesotans for Clean Cars hosted a Mankato-centric virtual panel Aug. 18 to discuss why the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s proposed Clean Car Minnesota rules would benefit the state, even as the proposal faces stiff resistance from Senate Republicans and automotive dealers.


Gov. Tim Walz announced the proposed emissions rules for low- and zero-emission vehicles last September based on similar rules in California. If the state adopts those rules, Minnesota would become the 15th state along with Washington, D.C., to require auto manufacturers to build and offer a certain amount of low-emission vehicles, such as hybrid or electric cars.


Yet the proposal faces challenges from Republican lawmakers who argue Walz should have left the decision to pursue new emissions guidelines to the Legislature rather than a state agency. The Minnesota Automotive Dealers Association also opposes the rules, arguing the proposal would drive up the cost of new cars and hinder out-of-state sales.


Yet supporters say cutting vehicle emissions is one of the most significant and cost-effective means to address ongoing climate change.


“It’s not hard to show people why it’s in the interest of the planet, but it’s tough to get people to do something that’s a long-term interest for a short-term cost,” Sen. Nick Frentz, DFL-North Mankato, said.


Frentz chairs the Senate DFL’s Clean Energy & Climate Change Caucus and has sponsored legislation related to the the govenor’s clean car standards proposal in the past. He said Minnesota could take an important role in promoting more environmentally sustainable practices as the world faces more issues due to our warming climate.


“The main message we’re sending to Minnesotans is it’s time to establish once and for all how much of a hurry we’re in,” Frentz said. “Clean cars is one of the things we have to do immediately.”

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