Minnesota legislators concerned with reducing automotive emissions of greenhouse gasses have devised a drastic plan.
Evidently, state lawmakers donâ€™t trust themselves to establish pollution standards for Minnesota, because the bill theyâ€™ve crafted abdicates that authority to the California Air Resources Board (CARB).Â
CARB is a division of the California Environmental Protection Agency and consists of 11 members appointed by Californiaâ€™s governor (Arnold Schwarzenegger). They set emission standards for vehicles sold in California that are twice as ambitious as federal guidelines, requiring 30% lower emissions in less than eight years.
Representative Hortman (DFL â€“ Brooklyn Park) wants to permanently entrust the 11-member California panel with regulatory authority over Minnesota. The bill she introduced (HF863) directsÂ Minnesotaâ€™s Pollution Control Agency to adopt rules that â€œmust be identical to and must incorporate by reference the California low emission vehicle regulations adopted by the California Air Resources Board under the California Code of Regulations, title 13.â€
Not only does Representative Hortman intend to adopt current known California regulations, but she intends to do so in perpetuity, giving appointed California bureaucrats the power to enact unknown future regulations for the state of Minnesota.
The bill states that MPCAâ€™s rules â€œmust be amended as necessary in a timely fashion to minimize the time during which Minnesota’s rules are not identical with California’s regulations, as required under United States Code, title 42, section 7507. Amendments under this clause must be made under section 14.388, subdivision 1, clause (3). Any portion of California’s regulations requiring a federal waiver under the Clean Air Act in order to become effective may not be enforced in Minnesota unless and until California receives the requisite federal waiver.â€
In their rush to â€œsave the planet,â€ they forgot to save Minnesotaâ€™s sovereignty. A UCLA student would have more influence over Minnesotaâ€™s vehicle regulations than any voter or politician in Minnesota would!Â
“We’re talking about an 11-member panel in California, that’s going to be regulating the state of Minnesota,â€ said Representative Tom Hackbarth (R â€“ Cedar), â€œThat’s not the way to operate in our state. I don’t think our legislature wants to give away that kind of authority.”
Auto makers say the California emissions standards (which arenâ€™t even in force in California, since they contradict federal regulations) would sharply increase the cost of automobiles, and limit the number of SUVs and trucks that could be sold in a state where they were implemented. According to the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association, Minnesotans buy more trucks than cars, which poses a problem with California Standards. Higher demand SUVs and trucks would have to be rationed. Ford Dealers would have to sell a certain number of Focuses before they could sell an F-150, for example.
If Hortmanâ€™s bill is adopted, more expensive vehicles, rationing, and an abdication of Minnesotaâ€™s regulatory power to another stateâ€™s government bureaucracy will result.