MPCA claims it has authority to enact more California-inspired energy policy

The Committee on State Government Finance and Policy and Elections held a hearing last week with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) about the status of the California car mandates. Some of the answers provided by MPCA were stunning and worrisome.

During the hearing, the MPCA claimed it has the authority to adopt even more of California’s mandates banning the sale of gasoline and small diesel-powered engines and new regulations on diesel trucks.

Senator Pratt asked the MPCA representatives if they had the authority to impose these new regulations. The MPCA stated that they have the power to implement these new regulations, but they are not planning on enacting them at this time.

Senator Kiffymeyer then asked a terrific follow-up question asking the MPCA if they had the authority to ban gas-powered lawn equipment. The MPCA again said they have the power, but don’t plan to ban these engines at this time.

This statement is very concerning because it means the Walz administration could change their minds at any moment and enact new bans on using small gasoline or diesel engines or new regulations on our heavy-duty trucks during a global supply chain crisis.

It also means the administration could adopt California’s new mandates banning the sale of new gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles in the state after 2035. In this situation, the legislature or the general public would have almost no say in the matter.

American Experiment led the charge against the California car mandates last year, arguing that they were made by unelected bureaucrats in what amounts to “Rule By Swamp.” It appears MPCA believes it has the power to unilaterally enact even more regulations on the way Minnesotans drive to work, go fishing, or mow their lawn.

Fortunately, a bill has been proposed by Senator Andrew Mathews that would curb the MPCA’s ability to enact these rules called the Consumer Choice of Fuel Act. This act prohibits state agencies from enacting rules banning the sale of gasoline or diesel-powered cars, trucks, snowmobiles, boats, snowblowers, lawn equipment, and farming machinery.

If passed, this legislation would protect the rights of Minnesotans to purchase whichever type of vehicles they want, regardless of how they are fueled. I’ll be testifying on the merits of this legislation in St. Paul tomorrow.