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Legislature should pass Clean Car Act

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This week the Minnesota Legislature is holding its last round of policy committee hearings -- things have been moving quickly here!

An important bill being considered by the Legislature -- called the Minnesota Clean Car Act -- would cut air pollution and global warming pollution from cars and trucks, while saving us money at the pump. It's a win-win-win.

The Clean Car Act would cut the smog and soot forming pollutants that can lead to asthma and other chronic lung diseases, save Minnesotans $1.4 billion dollars at the pump between now and 2020 and cut 13 million metric tons of global warming pollution by 2025.

And it is clear that the Clean Car Act has received a big thumbs up from most Minnesotans.

The Minnesota Environmental Partnership conducted a statewide poll in the fall and found that more than 80 percent of Minnesotans said they do support putting pressure on the automakers to produce cleaner cars and trucks.

When the bill was introduced in February an asthma sufferer from Albert Lea got up at 6:45 in the morning to drive to the Capitol to talk to legislators and the media about why she wants cleaner cars on Minnesota roads. Last week she drove up again to testify in front of a Senate committee.

Since the bill's introduction nearly every major newspaper in the state has received and run a letter to the editor from at least one local reader supporting the Clean Car Act -- nearly 30 letters in just the last month, including one from an auto dealer who thinks this will be a great way to revive the struggling domestic auto industry.

In the last few weeks citizens have driven to the Capitol from miles away to lobby their legislators to support this bill -- including close to 40 people from the Bemidji area, more than 40 from the Austin and Albert Lea area, and over 200 students and community members from around the Metro area.

I urge the Legislature to act on this overwhelming show of support -- we have a chance this spring to adopt stricter tailpipe emission standards that will cut air pollution, save money at the pump, reduce the global warming pollution that threatens special places across the state, all while driving innovation by bringing new clean vehicles to Minnesota. (Environment Minnesota is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy group.)

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