Court upholds Minnesota’s ‘Clean Car Rule’

A challenge to Minnesota’s “clean car” rules has been denied in court.

Monday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals formally filed its decision, upholding the validity of the rules that were adopted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) in 2021 at Gov. Tim Walz’s request.

RELATED: Minnesota adopts ‘clean car’ rules to foster electric shift

More than a dozen other states have implemented similar standards, which supporters say will lead to cleaner air and combat climate change.

The rules, which are more strict than federal regulations, require vehicle manufacturers to only sell vehicles in Minnesota that meet certain air pollutant emission standards and also mandate a certain percentage of vehicles with ultra-low or zero tailpipe emissions in an effort to increase the availability of electric and hybrid vehicle offerings. They’ll take effect in 2024 with 2025 model-year vehicles.

The Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association (MADA) has previously said the changes will force dealers to carry more electric vehicles than customers want and force prices up.

In its challenge to the rule, MADA said MPCA’s rules referenced California’s standards and, in doing so, violated the Minnesota Constitution’s nondelegation doctrine.

The three-judge panel of appellate judges determined that MPCA acted within its authority when setting the standards and didn’t violate the Constitution because the rules just reference sections of California’s laws and didn’t incorporate specific sections of the regulations.

Scott Lambert, president of MADA, sent the following statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS:

“MADA is disappointed in the ruling by the MN Court of Appeals. The one good thing to come from today’s decision is that if Minnesota wants to go forward with the new rule recently adopted by California, the MPCA will need to affirmatively conduct new rulemaking.

“From the start we have said that the California Car rules are not a good fit for Minnesota. This supply mandate run by California bureaucrats does not address the main hurdles in the way of getting consumers into electric vehicles. The state should be instituting an aggressive policy of building infrastructure and creating incentives for consumers to purchase this new technology. Minnesota policy should not be dictated by Californians who intend to ban the sale of gasoline powered automobiles by 2035.

“The MADA Board of Directors will examine the ruling to decide if an appeal is warranted.”

Scott Lambert, president of the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association