Minnesota car dealerships file new lawsuit to fight ‘clean car’ rules
Minnesota auto dealers are filing a new lawsuit to end Gov. Tim Walz’s “clean car” rules, a central part of the state’s climate change strategy.
Modeled after California standards, the new rules will require automakers to deliver more all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to Minnesota so buyers have more choice on the sales lot. The state hopes this will speed the transition to electric vehicles and reduce pollution from transportation, the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota. The requirements come into effect on January 1, 2024 for 2025 models.
The Minnesota Auto Dealers Association has long opposed the rules as overregulation, fearing dealerships could be stuck with unsold inventory that they will have to buy themselves.
The industry group on Wednesday asked the state Court of Appeals to overturn requirements that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) passed in 2021. The group argues that the state n It’s not allowed to adopt California standards and the MPCA doesn’t have the authority to adopt them without going to the legislature.
In 2021, a federal judge dismissed a similar lawsuit by the group, essentially ruling that the auto dealers had taken the plunge — they couldn’t claim imminent harm because the rule hadn’t even been passed yet.
Minnesota dealers are frustrated, association president Scott Lambert said in an interview. The MPCA and the governor’s office ignored their concerns, he said, and for two sessions the Democratic-led House ignored them as well. The administrative law judge who upheld the MPCA’s power to enact the clean car rules “got it wrong,” Lambert said.
“The mandates that California rules are going to impose on our dealers just aren’t feasible,” he said.
The MPCA insists that there is sufficient demand for electric vehicles.
“As the agency considers this new legal action, we are confident that the clean car standards, developed through authority granted by the legislature and approved by a judge, will stand,” the spokesperson said. the MPCA, Darin Broton.
The dispute over the rule could show up in this year’s gubernatorial race. Walz, a Democrat, has championed the rule as part of his efforts to fight climate change. Scott Jensen, the Republican-backed candidate to challenge Walz in November, posted a YouTube video opposing the electric vehicle requirements, but the issue did not emerge as a major campaign issue for him.