Minn. to adopt tougher rules

Source: By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) today announced his intent to adopt California’s more stringent clean car standards.

The announcement falls on the heels of New Mexico’s commitment yesterday to adopt California’s standards (Greenwire, Sept. 25).

It also comes after the Trump administration last week proposed revoking states’ legal authority under the Clean Air Act to set more stringent vehicle emissions rules than the federal government.

A spokesman for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency didn’t immediately respond to an email or voicemail seeking comment.

But as of this afternoon, the agency’s website contained a page titled “Clean Cars Minnesota.”

“Minnesota has proposed adopting clean car standards — reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the choices Minnesotans have when it comes to purchasing electric vehicles,” the page says. “With cleaner air, more car options, and less money spent on gas, every Minnesotan benefits from clean car standards.”

Farther down the page, surrounded by a light green background, large white letters proclaim: “If Washington won’t act, Minnesota will.”

Under Section 209 of the Clean Air Act, California can receive a waiver from EPA to set the tougher tailpipe pollution rules.

Under Section 177 of the bedrock environmental law, other states can choose to adopt California’s rules. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have done so, representing more than 40% of new cars sold in the country.

Today’s announcement kicks off a formal rulemaking process that begins in October and will last 15 months, according to the webpage. The public will have numerous opportunities to provide comments throughout the process.

Environmental groups praised Minnesota’s resistance to the Trump administration.

“We applaud the Walz-Flanagan administration for standing up for clean air, clean water and a healthy climate — and against the Trump administration’s indefensible attack on our communities and our future,” Margaret Levin, director of the Sierra Club’s Minnesota chapter, said in a statement.