Conservatives Challenge Gov. Walz’s Clean Car Mandates


A conservative think tank urged the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to withdraw its consideration of clean car mandates proposed by Gov. Tim Walz earlier this year.

Walz announced in September that he had directed the MPCA to consider adopting the Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) and Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) rules made popular by California.

Under the new clean car standards, auto manufacturers would be required to “deliver passenger cars, trucks and SUVs that produce lower greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants for sale in Minnesota.”

Minnesota would be the thirteenth state to adopt the California standards and the process will take up to 18 months to be completed.

“What this will basically do is have those manufacturers putting more opportunities in front of Minnesotans,” Walz said of the new rules, claiming they don’t require the approval of the Minnesota Legislature.

The Center of the American Experiment opposes the new standards and submitted 27 pages of comments Monday to highlight “why the California mandates are bad news for Minnesota.” The comments urge the MPCA to withdraw the proposed rules from consideration because they would:

  • Violate the private property rights of auto dealers across the state to run their businesses in the way they deem most appropriate;
  • Increase the cost of gasoline powered vehicles by $2,000 to $2,500 through model year 2025 and reduce passenger safety;
  • Force auto dealers to stock electric cars that are not profitable and have limited demand;
  • Result in disproportionate negative impacts on low-income and minority communities;
  • Not meaningfully reduce emissions of criteria pollutants because Minnesota’s air already meets federal air quality standards;
  • Have no measurable impacts on future global temperatures.

The Center of the American Experiment argues that there is no legal basis to implement the clean car standards without the approval of the Minnesota Legislature, which needs to grant statutory authority to MPCA to enact the rules.

“In fact, the Legislature specifically decided not to pass such legislation at least twice, in 2007 and 2008. Moreover, the Federal EPA has withdrawn the rule authorizing adoption of the California standards, effective November 18, 2019,” states the think tank.

Gov. Walz cited Minnesota’s Next Generation Energy Act when announcing the rules, but the goals outlined in that bill “are not requirements and no rulemaking authority is granted in that act,” says the Center of the American Experiment.

A Republican state representative said he plans to introduce a bill during the next legislative session that would require the Governor’s Office to abide by the new clean car standards, meaning Walz’s “fleet of SUVs” would be donated to charity.

In a related initiative, Walz signed an executive order last week that establishes a new “Climate Change Subcabinet.”

Sen. David Osmek (R-Mound), chair of the Senate Energy and Utilities Committee, said the new subcabinet is “made up of a combination of metro Democrats and representatives from his (Walz’s) administration.”

“GOP need not apply is not the solution,” he said. “I am disappointed to see the Governor treat important policy-making as an emperor’s decree, rather than collaboratively with diverse stakeholders.”

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].







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