Assistant Majority Leader Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) today introduced legislation designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from passenger cars and trucks. Hortman, who has already introduced global warming legislation this session, said the bill is an important part of our efforts to confront the dangers of global climate change.
"Global warming is a very serious threat," Hortman said. "If we do not take immediate action, we risk doing irreparable harm to our state, country and planet."
Hortman's bill would adopt new vehicle emissions standards patterned on those enacted in California in 2004. Starting in 2009, new cars and light trucks sold in Minnesota would be required to emit 25% less carbon. Heavy trucks and SUVs would have to reduce their emissions by 18%. Hortman noted that transportation is the largest source of carbon emissions in Minnesota, with electrical generation close behind.
"If we want to do something about global warming, then we have to do something about transportation," Hortman said. "By adopting these standards, we'll take a big step towards solving the problem."
Earlier in the session, Hortman introduced legislation that set a goal of reducing carbon emissions from transportation sources 30% by the year 2030. Hortman said the response to that legislation has been enthusiastic.
"This bill has 36 cosponsors," she said. "Its support transcends political, regional and ideological divides. We've got Democrats, Republicans, rural members, urban members, suburban members, liberals and conservatives all working together."
Federal law prevents Minnesota or any other state from setting its own vehicle emissions standard, but because California began regulating pollution before the federal government, its standard is permitted. Other states may choose between the federal standard and the California standard. So far, ten states have adopted the California vehicle emission standards.