The transportation sector has now passed electricity generation as the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota. And although transportation-related emissions have decreased slightly since 2005, they are not decreasing fast enough to meet Minnesota’s climate goals. Business as usual will be insufficient to address the climate crisis: increased vehicle efficiency and electric vehicle use are essential to reducing emissions and protecting public health.
MCEA is working to advance vehicle electrification in Minnesota in a few areas. First, we are supporting the Pollution Control Agency’s efforts to adopt Clean Cars Minnesota. This rule will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all new vehicles sold in Minnesota and increase the availability of zero-emission electric vehicles in the state. It will also ensure that Minnesotans have access to the same models of electric vehicles that residents of other states do. In May 2021, an Administrative Law Judge recommended adoption of the Clean Cars rule. MCEA will continue to defend this critical rule against legal challenges from opponents.
We are also supporting beneficial electrification and pushing back against industry attacks on EVs. Minnesota's electric utilities are creating innovative programs to increase access to electric vehicles and to encourage their customers to charge those vehicles when it's most beneficial for the grid. Along with our partners, MCEA reviews, recommends changes to, and often supports the adoption of these programs. We also defend these programs: Some large industrial customers--including Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend, LLC, Marathon Petroleum Company LP, and USG Interiors, Inc.—have challenged the approval of these programs in court. MCEA submitted a brief supporting the utility and the PUC in this case, and the appeal was rejected. We will continue to look out for industry attacks on EVs and support electrification in Minnesota.
Finally, we monitor the Minnesota State Legislature for bills related to vehicle electrification. We support bills that would increase vehicle electrification, and oppose bills that seek to hinder progress. For example, this session we submitted testimony against a bill that sought to increase Minnesota's electric vehicle surcharge to be among the highest in the nation, and that would unfairly penalize EV drivers.
Timeline of Key Events
Clean Cars Rules upheld in the Minnesota Court of Appeals
The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the Clean Cars Rules, holding that the MPCA has authority to adopt the rules under state and federal law.
MCEA supports MPCA's right to implement Clean Cars Rules through amicus brief
The Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association files a lawsuit in the Minnesota Court of Appeals to block the Clean Cars Rules. MCEA submits an amicus (friend of the court) brief on behalf of clean energy organizations explaining why the MPCA had authority to implement these rules.
MPCA and Gov. Walz announce Minnesota as a Clean Cars state
The Clean Cars rule is officially adopted in Minnesota! Car manufacturers will be incentivized to send more EVs to Minnesota, and new tailpipe emissions standards will become effective after a waiting period and reinstatement of state authority.
Attempt to block or further delay Clean Cars rulemaking through the Legislature fails
After threatening to force a government shutdown, Republican lawmakers failed to block or further delay Clean Cars rulemaking. This was one of the last hurdles standing in the way of Minnesota becoming a Clean Cars state.
Administrative Law Judge rules in favor of Clean Cars Standards
On May 7th, an administrative law judge issued her ruling on the new Clean Cars Minnesota Rule, finding it both reasonable and necessary for reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the state. The decision clears the way for Minnesota to become the 15th state to adopt more stringent tailpipe emissions standards for passenger vehicles.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is expected to finalize a Clean Cars rule for Minnesota
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency releases its proposal for Clean Cars Minnesota.
MCEA is reviewing the rule and will be submitting comments supporting it and arguing for the strongest rule possible. Public comments are due March 15th, 2021. Click here to voice your support.
Minnesota Court of Appeals rejects challenge to Xcel's electric vehicle pilot programs
The Minnesota Court of Appeals denied an appeal by Koch/Pine Bend Refinery and other "large industrial customers" who sought to prevent Xcel Energy Minnesota from offering in-home and fleet EV charging pilot projects. MCEA filed an amicus curiae brief supporting the pilot programs.
MCEA will review and analyze the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s draft rule, submit comments, and testify at public hearings
The Minnesota Court of Appeals hears oral arguments in the challenge to the EV pilot
MCEA files amicus brief supporting Xcel Energy’s electric vehicle pilot programs with the Minnesota Court of Appeals
MCEA testifies at multiple hearings in the Minnesota Senate
Our testimony responds to attacks on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s ability to implement the Clean Cars Minnesota rule.
MCEA submits comments asking the Pollution Control Agency to draft an effective Clean Cars rule
Clean Energy Organizations file petition to intervene in the Court of Appeals case on the EV pilot
Large Industrial Customers (“XLI”) file appeal of Xcel Energy’s EV pilot
XLI includes the Pine Bend Refinery owned by Koch Industries, the largest gasoline refinery in Minnesota.