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Clean Car Act is a no-brainer

Of all the issues being debated at the legislature this spring, I was surprised to see the Clean Car Act described as controversial. A bill that will help save consumers millions of dollars each year, cut air pollution from the single biggest source in the state, reduce risks of global warming, and also support the ethanol industry in Minnesota. What is so controversial about that? Instead of being controversial, this bill seems like a no-brainer.

The arguments levied by opponents to this bill are clearly based on lies -- perpetrated by auto industry CEOs who have opposed Clean Car standards in every state. It is just this type of leadership and judgment that has led these companies to the brink of bankruptcy so that we have to bail them out. We should know better than to take their advice on this issue.

Let's take the argument that we are going to give away our authority to California. This argument is a red herring.  This is a Minnesota based bill where we can either follow the federal standards, as we do now, or choose to adopt the more protective state-based standards originally spearheaded by California. Should we choose to adopt stricter emission standards we can opt out of them at any time and there is no plan for any emissions testing program.

Or the argument that these standards would hurt ethanol producers in Minnesota due to limited availability of flex-fuel vehicles -- another red herring. In model year 2009, more than 96 flex-fuel vehicle models were certified to meet the Clean Car standards, and more are being certified every year.

This bill offers a choice. Be complacent with today's low standards strongly supported for decades by the failed auto industry or establish standards for a better energy future. Fourteen states have already adopted these types of standards. Iowa and Minnesota are next in line.

Last year we let Iowa pass us up as a leader on wind power. In November, it was their football team. Last week, their women's basketball team and now maybe clean car legislation too. Contact your legislator and urge them to vote in favor of clean cars. It is good for Minnesota and we can't afford to let Iowa beat us on this one too.