Walz accelerates push for unpopular California Car Mandates in Minnesota

It appears Governor Walz is accelerating his push to circumvent the legislative process by using the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to impose unpopular California car mandates on Minnesota. These new regulations would force Minnesota to adopt California’s mandates for low emission vehicles (LEVs) and zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs) exactly as they are written in California.

In our quarterly Thinking Minnesota poll, Center of the American Experiment found these mandates, which would increase the cost of vehicles sold in Minnesota, are deeply unpopular. The polling shows 68 percent of Minnesotans oppose the Governor’s proposed California car mandates, if it would increase the cost of gasoline-powered vehicles.

The Governor’s proposed mandates become even more unpopular once people understand exactly how much adopting California’s regulations would cost them. According to a study of these rules in Colorado, the LEV and ZEV mandates would increase the cost of vehicle ownership by $2,800 for gasoline-powered cars. However, 79 percent of Minnesotans said they would be unwilling to pay the additional costs associated with Governor Walz’s proposed rules.

Center of the American Experiment submitted extensive comments spanning 27 pages opposing the Walz administration’s attempt to use the bureaucratic rulemaking process to impose these regulations on Minnesotans, arguing they would subject Minnesota families to large costs with no measurable environmental benefits.

While Governor Walz often attempts to justify his unpopular energy regulations by stating that climate change is an existential threat to Minnesotans, the fact that his administration refuses to legalize new nuclear power, or allow large hydro power to qualify as “carbon free” seriously undermines the credibility of his claims because these are the only sources of electricity than can reliably deliver carbon-free power around the clock.

For example, Governor Walz claims these regulations would avert 2 *million* tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year by 2030. This accounts for just 6.7 percent of the emissions from the electric power sector. The Governor would be able to reduce far more emissions by legalizing new nuclear power than by mandating California car mandates in Minnesota, but because nuclear power is not supported by his liberal base, the most effective solution to an issue he calls an “existential crisis” goes unutilized.

Regardless of the cost or environmental impact of these regulations, it is important to remember that the Governor is attempting to circumvent the legislature by using the administrative state to import California’s regulations into Minnesota. If the Governor believes the benefits of this proposal are so self evident, why not allow it to go through the proper legislative channels?