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Minnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL)

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009
St. Paul, MN - Representative Melissa Hortman (DFL - Brooklyn Park) and Senator John Marty (DFL - Roseville) announced the introduction of the “Minnesota Clean Car Act" today at the State Capitol. The “Minnesota Clean Car Act” will direct the state to adopt the more protective state-based standards for tailpipe emissions originally spear-headed by California in 2002. These standards would start in 2012, apply only to new vehicles, be phased in over time Representative Melissa Hortman and Senator John Marty, House and Senate authors of a bill to bring clean cars, light-duty trucks and SUVs to Minnesota, were be joined by a diverse group of Minnesotans from across the state to announce the introduction of their bill to the 2009 Minnesota Legislature. Citizens gathered to express their support for a bill that will significantly reduce the smog and soot forming pollutants that can lead to asthma, and the global warming pollution that threatens our special places. In addition to significantly reducing pollution the Minnesota Clean Car Act will save consumers money at the pump. "The Minnesota Clean Car Act will save Minnesotans $265 million on fuel between now and 2025,” said Rep. Hortman. “If for no other reason than that, in these tough economic times, this is a step state leaders should take as soon as possible." Ruth Klamm, an asthma sufferer from Austin, Minnesota, left her home at 6:45 this morning to come to St. Paul for this event. “Health is a big concern for me,” said Ms. Klamm. “I moved here from California, as did my daughter, top get away from the dirty air we were breathing… now we experience some of the same problems here.” Andrew Larkin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at St. Cloud State University, drove from St. Cloud this morning to be in St. Paul for the event. “More and more, citizens are becoming aware of and concerned about the automobile’s adverse impact on the atmosphere and the climate,” said Professor Larkin. “Buyers are aware that lower emission vehicles also mean lower fuel costs. However, buyers are waiting months, even years, to buy … the sort of car that meets their… goals.” Local environmental advocates joined Rep. Hortman and Sen. Marty to indicate their support for a bill that does so much to cut the global warming pollution that threatens Minnesota’s special places. “Global warming is the most pressing environmental problem facing Minnesota,” underscored Monique Sullivan, Advocate for the citizen-based environmental advocacy group Environment Minnesota. “Scientists at the University of Minnesota predict that if we don’t take action to stop global warming, the ecology of the Boundary Waters could change so significantly that, within 50 years, the wilderness would look completely different.” “Automakers insist that despite the Obama Administration having given the green light to states like Minnesota to regulate our own tailpipe emissions, we would see more significant reductions in greenhouse gases if we continued to follow the new federal fuel-efficiency standards,” continued Sullivan. “Not only is it odd to be told by an automaker how best to reduce our global warming pollution, but the facts clearly dispute their argument. The cumulative effect of adopting these standards in Minnesota would be the equivalent of taking more than 1 million more vehicles off of our roads for a year.” At 3 pm today, the Office of Energy Security is scheduled to present their report on Minnesota’s efforts to achieve state climate goals to the Senate Energy Committee. The report includes only a mere mention of adopting a clean vehicles standard, despite the significant benefits to reducing global warming pollution. The Governor’s Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group recommended a clean vehicle standard as a best way to reduce greenhouse gases from the transportation sector in Minnesota. The sentiment in the room was overwhelmingly supportive of passing these standards this year. Senator John Marty spoke to the reasons why he has championed this legislation 3 legislative sessions in a row. "This bill would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help consumers save money at the pump, as these cleaner cars and trucks have more efficient engines,” said Sen. Marty. “Given the harsh economy that Minnesota's families are weathering, this alone is a very good reason to adopt this legislation." ***