State officials to hold public meetings to discuss clean car standards

Gov. Tim Walz announces a proposal for clean cars in Minnesota.
Gov. Tim Walz announces a proposal to join California and 13 other states in offering more low- and zero-emission vehicles for sale in Minnesota in St. Paul on Sept. 25, 2019.
Brian Bakst | MPR News

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will start holding statewide community meetings this week to get public input about Gov. Tim Walz’s Clean Cars Minnesota proposal.

The proposal, introduced by Walz last month, would require manufacturers to bring more low- and zero-emissions vehicles to Minnesota and bolster existing standards. Minnesota would become the first state in the Midwest to adopt such a policy, which is similar to policies enacted by 14 other states.

At the announcement Sept. 25, Walz said the rule would improve air quality statewide and provide more efficient vehicle options for consumers. It would take 18 to 20 months for state agencies to implement the rule, he said.

The proposal comes as the Trump administration is attempting to deny states the ability to override federal clean car standards, prompting Minnesota to join California and about 20 other states to challenge that federal action in court.

A federal appeals court on Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed by California and joined by other states, including Minnesota, seeking to stop the Trump administration from weakening emissions rules. The court ruled that suit was premature because the Environmental Protection Agency has not yet set new rules — but said if the EPA does take that step, it will need to provide a detailed explanation why it’s making the changes.

The public meetings starting in Minnesota this week are part of the MPCA’s “request for comments” period, a 60-day window in which the agency encourages public comment on new rules. The agency expects the rule to be adopted in December 2020 after issuing it early next year.

In addition to the meetings, the MPCA will hold a webinar on Nov. 4 at noon.

Upcoming community meetings

Each meeting takes place from 5-7 p.m.

  • Tuesday, Oct. 29: Otter Tail County Government Services Center in Fergus Falls

  • Wednesday, Oct. 30: Burnsville City Hall Council Chambers

  • Wednesday, Nov. 6: Lyon County Library in Marshall

  • Tuesday, Nov. 12: Miners Memorial Building in Virginia

  • Thursday, Nov. 14: Urban Research and Outreach Engagement Center in Minneapolis

  • Tuesday, Nov. 19: Blue Earth County Library in Mankato

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