What we heard

Large group of people seated in auditorium listening to speaker and watching presentation on screenIn early October 2019, MPCA published a Request for Comment (RFC) in the State Register asking for feedback on the proposed Clean Cars Minnesota rule. This initial comment period ended on December 6, 2019, but there will be more opportunities for Minnesotans to give feedback in the coming months.

In total, we received more than 2,400 responses from Minnesotans:

  • Over 300 attendees participated and gave feedback at seven public meetings across the state.
  • We received 1,133 responses to our online survey and 1,040 written comments.
  • A number of stakeholders also provided feedback to inform our technical analysis.

We heard from a wide variety of Minnesotans who are interested in the proposal, care deeply about these issues, and provided different perspectives.

MPCA staff read and reviewed each written comment submitted to the agency and categorized each comment based on explicit mention of topics. Comments frequently covered multiple topics, and all mentions were counted.

Review all written comments submitted to the agency:

The main take-away: support for reducing GHG emissions

The single most repeated comment we heard was explicit support for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the importance of taking action to reduce the impacts of climate change. This held true across written comments (40%), our online survey (59%), and public meetings.

Many comments conveyed a sense of urgency for climate action, for example: “We are facing a climate crisis of unprecedented proportions and Minnesota must do everything within our authority as a state to address this crisis.” Some comments specifically mentioned Minnesota’s statewide goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions put in place by the Next Generation Energy Act in 2007, and the need to get “back on track” to meet those goals. One commenter wrote: “I am in full support of this initiative. Any legislative, regulatory and policy development which will help the state achieve the targeted greenhouse gas emissions should be considered.”

Large group of people sitting in rows in a meeting room

Additional topics of interest

Approximately 25% of written comments expressed support for improving air quality in Minnesota. “As a retiree who walks many places, having clean air is critical to being able to maintain my health, my mobility, and my independence,” said one commenter. “I think any effort to improve the air quality is important,” said another. “Since we know car and truck exhaust cause much of the pollution, then working for ‘cleaner’ cars is important.”

Eighteen percent of written comments expressed support for more electric vehicle availability in Minnesota. One commenter stated that he strongly supports the proposal for “the ability to buy electric cars locally.” He explained, “Presently, my wife and I are shopping for an electric car. The car we are particularly interested in is not sold in Minnesota, only states with clean car standards.” Another commenter shared, “I want to see the Clean Cars Minnesota [rule] implemented because I want to buy a clean, electric-powered vehicle and have them more accessible to all Minnesotans.”

Man listening to small group of people

Another 18% of written comments explicitly mentioned health impacts, either describing the current negative health impacts of air pollution from vehicles and/or potential health benefits of reducing those emissions. “I want to see cleaner air in my city,” wrote one commenter, “I want Minnesotans to have the opportunity to breathe healthy, and to not develop asthma, to not exacerbate their allergies, and to live long and healthy lives. I want this for me, I want this for my neighbors, and I want this for my future kids.”

Eleven percent of written comments mentioned potential costs for consumers, with a variety of views. We heard from Minnesotans who have concerns about the potential costs of implementing the proposed standards as well as Minnesotans who described potential cost savings for consumers. A number of commenters wrote: “I oppose the rule in its entirety because I do not believe that Minnesota can do more than comply with the existing federal standards without serious harm to our economy, livelihoods and quality of life.” Other commenters shared information about lower fuel and maintenance costs for EV drivers. Adopting the clean car standards would “provide cars that are cheaper to own,” said one commenter, “[EVs] mean less maintenance, saving consumers money.”

Ten percent of written comments expressed the importance of acting now to protect future generations. “The threat to my children and all those in the world facing a dramatically different and probably painful future requires that we begin immediately to encourage cleaner cars and reduce pollution where we have the power to do so, like in our state,” said one commenter. “I want my daughter’s generation to have a future,” wrote another, “We must do everything possible to mitigate carbon emissions and keep the temps from rising further.”

Ten percent of written comments raised different legal questions about the proposed rule. Some commenters voiced concerns about the status of the federal waiver that allows states to adopt more stringent vehicle emissions standards, citing the federal EPA’s purported repeal of this waiver in September 2019. California and 22 other states, including Minnesota, filed a lawsuit to challenge this decision and the legal proceedings are ongoing. Other commenters said that the agency rulemaking process was not the appropriate method for setting vehicle emissions standards.

Other topics of interest we observed in less than ten percent of the written comments included concern for environmental justice (7%) and availability of EV infrastructure (6%).

Review all written comments submitted to the agency:

Interactive poster with dot stickers placed in boxes to vote for category

Learn more

At our public meetings across the state, MPCA staff asked attendees to participate in an interactive exercise to share their thoughts and priorities.