Last month, the Minnesota Senate held a joint hearing with the Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy and Legacy Committees regarding the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) intention to adopt the California Emission Standards through the administrative rule-making process.

Governor Walz’s administration is seeking to implement California’s mandatory auto-emission standards on vehicles sold in Minnesota by bypassing the legislature and using the administrative rule-making process.

“This administration’s attempt to implement California Emission Standards is a shortsighted attempt to appease environmental activists which fails to recognize the enormous negative toll it will have on poor and rural Minnesotans,” said Senator David Osmek (R-Mound). “Amongst other failures, this initiative attacks our economy while it is already down, hurting border businesses while hamstringing those that rely on tractors, trucks, and other non-EVs for work. We all want to preserve the environment, but to be successful, we must work with consumers and businesses to encourage change, not punish them.”

The “proposed benefit” of the rules also seems questionable based on data from Minnesota and across the nation. Without adopting the standards, MnDOT’s forecast shows that gasoline usage has already hit its peak and is projected to decline exponentially in the future.

This data suggests that Minnesota’s market is already moving towards cleaner and more efficient cars, with more models hitting lots yearly. Like the energy industry, consumers seem to be determining the trend with demand as EVs become more affordable and the technology becoming more accessible. Unfortunately, using their rulemaking power, the MPCA and governor do not offer any financial incentive to consumers, expecting Minnesota families to front the bill.

Minnesotans who wish to submit public comments can either attend one of the planned virtual hearings, submit links via the Office of Administrative Hearings website (mn.gov/oah/), or attend a public hearing. The hearings for public comments will take place virtually on Feb. 22 and 23 at 3 p.m.

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