Republicans seek to limit state’s pollution control agency from regulating…pollution

Senate Republicans heard a bill this week in the Environment Policy & Legacy Finance Committee that would roll back the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) ability to adopt rules that regulate vehicle emissions in the state. It is in retaliation to the agency’s rulemaking process to adopt more stringent vehicle emissions standards and open up the electric vehicle market in the state, a market that currently only sees a fraction of the models available nationwide for sale here in Minnesota.

Supporters of the legislation argue these types of standards should go through the legislative process. Opponents point to a number of reasons the MPCA should be able to set these standards – known as Clean Cars MN – including fewer premature deaths and pollution-related health outcomes that would be seen as a result, expanded options for consumers looking to purchase clean vehicles, and savings Minnesotans across the state would see with reduced fuel and maintenance costs.

If passed into law, the agency charged with regulating the state’s air quality would be prohibited from adopting standards related to the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions in the state – our transportation sector. Despite the overwhelming amount of testimony – both during committee and submitted in writing – against this proposal, Republicans on the committee voted to advance the bill to its next committee stop, with DFLers unanimously voting against the proposal.

Similar attempts to roll back MPCA’s authority have been seen in previous sessions, and Senate DFLers will continue to oppose any attempts to weaken the state’s ability to provide clean air for all Minnesotans, regardless of their race, income level, or zip code. The bill will be heard next in the Committee on State Government. (SF 450)