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Time is short to comment on Calif. car standards in Minn.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

 

ST. PAUL – State Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, said he is urging area citizens to provide comments in response to Gov. Tim Walz’s push to mandate California’s car standards to Minnesota.

The governor is seeking statewide adoption of California’s restrictive auto standards through the administrative rulemaking process, which bypasses the legislature. Lueck said this makes it extremely important for people to register written comments on the Office of Administrative Hearings website or by submitting testimony at public video hearings on this matter.

“The governor is pushing California auto standards on Minnesotans,” Lueck said.“This will increase the cost of vehicles, reduce choices and dictate to auto dealers what vehicles they can have on their lots and sell – regardless of demand. Sadly, it is likely not going to have a major impact on air quality within in the state, but will make it more expensive for transportation, especially for those with low incomes.

“An issue of this significance warrants the governor going through the legislative process. If it survives that process, fine. If not, we obviously don’t need it. Walz is asking the citizens of Minnesota to outsource Minnesota’s environmental policy to an unelected board in California, rather than bringing the matter before Minnesota’s elected representatives to actually decide on the best way forward. Mandating electric vehicles and banning gas powered vehicles is where this appears to be headed, as what California does Minnesota will also have to do.”

Lueck said it should be noted that the governor of California last October announced a ban on the sale of new gas-powered autos in 2035. Under California rules in 2025, manufacturers will need to deliver for sale about 18,852 electric vehicles in Minnesota, that is about 9 times more than being sold today, Lueck said.

The electric vehicle market share in California is about 8 percent of all cars sold, Lueck said. To get to that point, he added, the state has spent $770 million on consumer rebates for these vehicles, and has another $238 million allocated.

“That’s over $1 billion in subsidies that other folks are paying to allow a select few vehicle owners to drive these expensive cars,” Lueck said. “People send their legislators to St. Paul to make these kinds of decisions and the executive’s duty is to carry out those decisions. All of us want to protect the air quality of our state, but Minnesota is not California, we need a more measured well thought out approach.”

Judge Jessica Palmer-Denig will conduct video hearings at 3 p.m. both Feb. 22 and 23. Links to attend the online events can be found by going to https://www.pca.state.mn.us/ and entering “gas standards notice of intent-hearing” in the search field.

You also can provide comments on the OAH website by visiting https://mn.gov/oah/ and entering “gas standards” in the search field. All comments regarding the proposed rule must be sent to Judge Palmer-Denig, to be included in the official rulemaking record. Step-by-step instructions for how to submit a comment and attach documents is available on the OAH website. The current open comment period closes on March 15.

Whether you submit a written comment or give testimony at the public hearing, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency indicates feedback will be considered equally. Regardless of whether you support this mandate or oppose it, Lueck said this the only chance the governor is giving citizens to weigh in on this critical issue.

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