Minnesota Senate Republicans cave on California car mandates

Tuesday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Minnesota Senate Republicans have caved on their bid to delay Governor Walz from imposing deeply unpopular California car mandates on Minnesota drivers. The move is disappointing, and it will have real-life negative implications for Minnesota families.

American Experiment has led the fight against these mandates, which are being enacted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) at the direction of the Walz administration.

Our opposition was based on our 46-page comments detailing why these rules will increase the cost of new cars by up to $2,500 per vehicle after they are implemented, and produce zero measurable environmental benefits.

Even the MPCA understands that the rules will provide zero practical environmental benefits, which is why they don’t want to clearly explain to the public how much their regulations would reduce future global temperatures.

The bid by conservative Senators to delay the implementation of these onerous and unreasonable rules was brave and should be applauded because unelected bureaucrats at the California Air Resources Board are currently in the process of making these regulations even more onerous.

Delaying the rules would have been a massive win because it would have forced the MPCA to defend costlier rules that will have zero measurable impact on the environment. Instead, the MPCA may now be able to adopt California’s new rules “as amended,” if CARB changes the way it adopts regulations.

Senator Gazelka stated that the California car mandates would now become an election issue because they will not go into effect until January 2024, but this line of thought is wrong.

Once the rule is finalized and adopted by the Walz administration later this year, it will be very difficult if not impossible to undo, even with a change in administrations. Even if a conservative Governor is elected in 2022, these rules will still go into effect in 2024 unless a new rulemaking is started to repeal them.

Such a proceeding would be a long shot to succeed because well-funded environmental groups will fight tooth and nail to keep them in place. When we consider that all of the constitutional offices in Minnesota are held by liberal politicians like Keith Ellison, it is highly unlikely that the rules would be repealed. Bureaucrats at MPCA would work slowly on the rule repealing the California car mandates and wait for a friendly administration to reinstate them.

It is understandable that political realities may have influenced the decision of conservative lawmakers to trade their opposition on the California car mandates for something else they wanted. However, it is bitterly disappointing that leadership did not appear to understand exactly how the rule-making process works when they decided to abandon their goal of delaying the rules for two years.

It was probably always unlikely that this effort to stop the California car mandates would be successful, but now it is virtually guaranteed that the rules will become the law of the land in Minnesota.