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After MN Ruling, Supporters of Clean Car Standards Eager to Move Forward

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Monday, May 10, 2021   

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota is now on track to join more than a dozen other states in the adoption of tougher auto-emission standards.

Supporters said despite a ruling paving the way for implementation, consumers will still have a choice in the broader fight against climate change.

Late last week, an administrative law judge said the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, under the direction of Gov. Tim Walz, had the authority to move forward with the plan.

Jeremy Drucker, spokesperson for Minnesotans for Clean Cars Coalition, said the only thing consumers might notice is more electric vehicles for sale.

"Really, all the rule does is, it requires auto manufacturers to send more low-emission and zero-emission vehicles to the state," Drucker explained.

Under the changes, nearly 7% of vehicles sold in Minnesota will have to be zero-emission.

Drucker noted consumers aren't forced to buy them. Still, he pointed out manufacturers are already heading in this direction, and Minnesota shouldn't fall behind in reducing air pollution from transportation.

Senate Republicans and the state auto dealers' association questioned market conditions for electric vehicles, while arguing the Legislature should have decided the matter.

Amid the debate, opponents have also said the state's infrastructure for electric vehicles isn't sufficient.

Drucker insists there is strong enough interest to move forward with the plan, and further action could help maximize the market.

"Adopting the clean-car standards is not by any means the only step we need to take, but we also need to create more incentives," Drucker contended.

He pointed to proposed legislation, which would include rebates for purchases.

The ruling follows the federal Environmental Protection Agency reconsidering the Trump administration's decision to revoke state-level authority in adopting standards.

States have the option of adhering to federal emission standards, or going with tougher rules written by California. Minnesota would be the only Midwestern state to embrace California's policy.


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