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Minnesota should pass new clean car standards

Now is the perfect time for Minnesota to adopt a more protective set of state-based tailpipe emission standards, rather than continuing to follow the weaker federal standards we currently must follow.

During the week of March 23, the Minnesota Clean Car Standards (HF690) bill will be considered in the Minnesota House State & Local Government Operations Reform Committee and in the Minnesota Senate Environment & Natural Resources Committee. I urge you to call or e-mail your elected representatives that serve in these committees and ask them to support the clean car standards.

In stark contrast to the Bush Administration's blockade of states' rights to regulate their own tailpipe emissions, President Obama has announced that his Administration will grant the EPA waiver necessary for states to move forward. So far, 14 states have adopted these stricter standards and others are considering adopting the standards this year, including Minnesota.

While the federal government may eventually choose to toughen federal emissions standards as more and more states adopt stricter state-based standards, there is no guarantee that they will. What's more, these types of regulations can take years to approve and implement.

Minnesota should not wait for the federal government to change their standards. We should join these other states this year, helping to lead efforts that reduce global warming pollution, drive new vehicle innovation, cut our dependence on foreign oil, create new jobs, reduce health care costs and save consumers money at the gas pump.