Farmers, businesses sue Gov. Walz and MPCA over new vehicle emissions rules

Gov. Tim Walz and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) are being sued by a group of farmers and businesses over new rules for vehicle emissions that would go into effect in 2024 for 2025-model vehicles.

The plaintiffs are listed as:

  • Clean Fuels Development Coalition.
  • Minnesota Soybean Growers Association.
  • ICM, Inc.
  • Minnesota Service Station & Convenience Store Association.
  • National Association Of Convenience Stores.

The lawsuit challenges new rules issued by MPCA that would impose Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) carbon-dioxide emission limits and also mandate a sales quota for Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV).

These rules would “[impose] considerable costs on nearly every facet of the transportation industry and citizens across the State,” the plaintiffs said in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also states that neither Minnesota Legislature nor MPCA drafted the new rules, instead “incorporating] by reference” over 45 provisions of the California Code of Regulations, noting that “Minnesota” should be substituted for “California.”

Carbon-dioxide emissions are directly related to fuel economy, according to the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs argue that MPCA’s new rules are unconstitutional because they would require Minnesota to abide by California’s motor-vehicle emission standards. The new rules are designed to reduce the consumption of liquid fuel by forcing automakers to produce and sell more vehicles that use less fuel.

The lawsuit alleges that each of the plaintiffs would be harmed by these new rules.

Soybeans that are grown by the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association are used as feedstock for the production of 85 million gallons of biodiesel annually — a large portion of which is sold in Minnesota. The lawsuit argues that the new rules proposed by MPCA would cause the association to lose sales.

The lawsuit also states that ICM, a lead producer of ethanol, would be hurt by the new rules because the rules would reduce the demand for ethanol. A large portion of Minnesota’s ethanol is manufactured in plants run by ICM, the suit said.

Minnesota Service Station & Convenience Store Association and the National Association of Convenience Stores would also be impacted, as they both sell large volumes of gasoline and diesel fuels. Additionally, drivers who refuel less often will less frequently visit the convenience stores at gas stations, the lawsuit alleges.

The Clean Car Rule was already upheld in an appeals court in January following a challenge by the Minnesota Auto Dealers Association. The interest group claimed the emissions rule would force dealerships to carry more electric vehicles on their lots than consumers would buy, thus driving up prices on conventional automobiles.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reached out to Gov. Walz’s office and the MPCA for comment but has not heard back.