Locals promote Clean Car Act

Published 3:20 pm Saturday, February 14, 2009

Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) and Sen. John Marty (DFL-Roseville) announced the introduction of the “Minnesota Clean Car Act” Thursday at the State Capitol.

The “Minnesota Clean Car Act” will direct the state to adopt the more protective state-based standards for tailpipe emissions originally spear-headed by California in 2002.   These standards would start in 2012, apply only to new vehicles, be phased in over time.

Hortman and Marty — House and Senate authors of a bill to bring clean cars, light-duty trucks and SUVs to Minnesota — were joined by a diverse group of Minnesotans from across the state to announce the introduction of their bill to the 2009 Minnesota Legislature.  Citizens gathered to express their support for a bill that will significantly reduce the smog and soot forming pollutants that can lead to asthma, and the global warming pollution that threatens our special places.

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In addition to significantly reducing pollution the Minnesota Clean Car Act will save consumers money at the pump.  “The Minnesota Clean Car Act will save Minnesotans $265 million on fuel between now and 2025,” said Hortman. “If for no other reason than that, in these tough economic times, this is a step state leaders should take as soon as possible.”

Ruth Klamm, an asthma sufferer from Austin, left her home at 6:45 a.m. to come to St. Paul for the event.

“Health is a big concern for me,” Klamm said.  “I moved here from California, as did my daughter, to get away from the dirty air we were breathing … now we experience some of the same problems here.”

Jim Stiles, owner of Super Fresh Produce in Austin, also attended.

Andrew Larkin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at St. Cloud State University, drove from St. Cloud to be in St. Paul for the event.  “More and more, citizens are becoming aware of and concerned about the automobile’s adverse impact on the atmosphere and the climate,” Larkin said.  “Buyers are aware that lower emission vehicles also mean lower fuel costs.”

Local environmental advocates joined Hortman and Marty to indicate their support for a bill that does so much to cut the global warming pollution that threatens Minnesota’s special places.

“Global warming is the most pressing environmental problem facing Minnesota,” said Monique Sullivan, advocate for the citizen-based environmental advocacy group Environment Minnesota. “Scientists at the University of Minnesota predict that if we don’t take action to stop global warming, the ecology of the Boundary Waters could change so significantly that, within 50 years, the wilderness would look completely different.

“Automakers insist that despite the Obama Administration having given the green light to states like Minnesota to regulate our own tailpipe emissions, we would see more significant reductions in greenhouse gases if we continued to follow the new federal fuel-efficiency standards,” Sullivan continued. “Not only is it odd to be told by an automaker how best to reduce our global warming pollution, but the facts clearly dispute their argument.  The cumulative effect of adopting these standards in Minnesota would be the equivalent of taking more than 1 million more vehicles off of our roads for a year.”

Environment Minnesota is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy group representing nearly 8,000 Minnesotans statewide (www.environmentminnesota.org).  Environment Minnesota is a member of the Clean Energy Minnesota coalition.