The Minnesota Senate Transportation Committee recently held a hearing featuring a number of ‘regular’ Minnesotans to learn about how the governor’s proposal to implement California’s vehicle-emissions rules in Minnesota. The governor is attempting to bypass the legislature and implement the rule using the administrative rulemaking process.
The hearing followed a joint hearing of the Senate’s Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy and Legacy Committees to hear from Pollution Control Agency Commissioner Laura Bishop about the new rules.
“The testimony we heard from regular Minnesotans confirms what we already know: these new vehicle rules are going to make things much, much more expensive for Minnesotans,” said Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont). “Farmers, heavy industry workers, and countless blue-collar workers are all going to end up paying more for the pickups and heavy vehicles they need in their daily lives. I sincerely hope the governor will listen to the feedback Minnesotans have been giving him and back off of these expensive new rules.”
Numerous testifiers, including a suburban mom, auto dealers, and farmers told the committee that the new rules would place undue hardship on them and on their families.
If adopted, the California Emission Standards will rattle Minnesota’s economy, raising transportation costs for lower-income residents and disproportionally hurting rural and border communities. Data suggests that new vehicles’ demand will drop 7.1% and that Minnesotans can expect to pay $800-$2,500 more per vehicle, not just on EVs.
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. Furthermore, states like Pennsylvania, which already have adopted the standards, have a smaller percentage of EVs than Minnesota.
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.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has begun hosting public information sessions in the agency’s effort to impose the California Car Mandate on Minnesotans. You can find more information about these sessions at https://www.pca.state.mn.us/air/clean-cars-mn-rulemaking.
Minnesotans who wish to submit public comments can either attend one of the planned virtual hearings, they can submit links via the Office of Administrative Hearings website (https://mn.gov/oah/), or attend a public hearing. The hearings for public comments will take place virtually on February 22 and 23 at 3 p.m.