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Today’s ruling from an Administrative Law Judge means Minnesota is set to become nation’s 15th clean car state

Today an Administrative Law Judge ruled the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) Clean Cars Minnesota proposal met the requirements of the rulemaking process, clearing the way for Minnesota to become the nation’s 15th clean car state. The new auto emission (clean car) standards, first proposed by Governor Tim Walz in September 2019, will reduce climate pollution and increase consumer savings and choice. Governor Walz and MPCA’s clean cars initiative will help put Minnesota on the leading edge of climate innovation and the emerging electric revolution.

“The race to electrify our transportation sector is underway,” said Gregg Mast, Executive Director of Clean Energy Economy MN (CEEM). “Adopting clean car standards significantly improves Minnesota’s competitive position in this rapidly emerging market. Ensuring access and options to vehicles that are more efficient saves money and is good for businesses and consumers. It also paves the way for new jobs and economic development.”

Earlier this spring a number of major auto manufacturers  announced they intend to sell only electric cars and trucks by 2035.

“Rivian applauds Governor Walz and the MPCA in this latest step to make Minnesota the first state in the Midwest to adopt a Clean Cars program,” said Chris Nevers, Senior Director of Environmental Engineering and Policy at Rivian. “This action puts Minnesota’s drivers first, while advancing U.S. leadership in zero-emission transportation—a win-win for the state and nation.”

Minnesota will be in the vanguard of states adopting these standards and cement its place as a leader in innovation and the rapidly growing clean energy economy.

“Rural Minnesotans have the most to gain from today’s ruling on Clean Cars standards,” said Anne Borgendale of Clean Up River Environment (CURE). “We will have greater access to the types of vehicles that are right for rural life while saving us money every day, keeping our air healthy, and protecting the farmland, forests, lakes, and rivers that we love. It’s a win-win-win-win situation for rural communities, economies, and people.”

Minnesota has been falling further and further behind its climate pollution goals. Cars and trucks on Minnesota roads are the #1 source of climate change-causing pollution in our state and nationally, and adopting clean car standards are estimated to reduce annual climate pollution by 1 million tons by 2030.

 “From clean air and water to healthier communities to more consumer choice, clean car standards will benefit everyone as Minnesota moves toward a clean energy future,” said Michael Noble, executive director of Fresh Energy. “We applaud the work of Governor Tim Walz and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner Laura Bishop in moving this critical policy ahead and look forward to continued partnership with them as the rule is implemented in the coming years.”

Studies show that Clean Cars Minnesota will save consumers $1600 on average while reducing harmful pollutants in the air. It will also increase the number of electric vehicles available for purchase in Minnesota. In Minnesota consumers are often denied the full complement of electric vehicles available for purchase in other states. A 2019 study by the Minnesota Department of Transportation found that there were just 19 models of electric cars available in Minnesota compared to 43 total models available.

“Today’s ruling on Clean Cars Minnesota is a win for Minnesotans and validates Governor Walz’s decision to put Minnesota back on track as a climate leader,” said Paul Austin, Executive Director, Conservation Minnesota. “Minnesotans value our four unique seasons, but climate change threatens the experiences that make life in Minnesota unique. With its lower costs, reduced pollution, and health benefits, the season has arrived for Clean Cars Minnesota.”

In developing the new clean car standard the MPCA conducted multiple public comment periods both before and after the draft rule was announced in December, 2020. The Administrative Law Judge ruling today affirmed both the need for the new rule and it’s reasonableness.