It was great seeing and speaking with many of you last week at the Freeborn County fair, and this week at the Mower County fair. I was able to attend and take part in the award ceremony put on to recognize some of the amazing accomplishments of those in our community. I also spent some time this week meeting with the Cedar River Watershed District. Their conservation efforts are commendable, and I look forward to working with them on many important projects.

One thing of pressing concern that Minnesotans need to know about is the implementation of California cars emissions standards. The California standards are being implemented by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency at the request of Governor Walz through agency rule-making. This is essentially a way for them to circumnavigate the legislature and the desires of Minnesotans. There was no vote, debate, or open forum for the communities that will be most impacted. Significant regulation like this needs to go through legislative channels. Normally, a piece of legislation is brought before both legislative bodies, heard by several committees, and voted on by your representatives before being signed by the Governor. What is happening here removes those safeguards and imposes the will of the Governor directly on the State.

Minnesota is not California. I find it unreasonable to allow California to dictate which vehicles are available to Minnesotans. We need to do what is best for our state. Right now, California is the only state that can set its own emission standards. All other states must follow either the standards they have set or those set by the federal government. The standards set by the federal government are far more adaptable to our state. California is set to ban the sale of all new gas-powered cars and trucks by 2035. Would that work here in Minnesota?

The California standards are set to go into effect on January 1, 2024, and impact all vehicles coming off the assembly line in 2025. The Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association rightly opposes the mandate and suggests this will set Minnesota up for an outright ban, much like California. Even without advancing an outright ban, the average cost of a new vehicle for Minnesotans will go up significantly with estimates ranging from $1,000-$2,500.

Governor Walz loves to push his ‘One Minnesota’ agenda, but where were rural Minnesotans when these decisions were made? They were left out of the conversation entirely. I have heard from an overwhelming number of people in our communities about the negative effects this would have on their livelihoods. The Governor disregarded our small and agricultural communities when he chose to adopt these restrictive standards without going through the legislature.

Further, we can support the growth of electric cars and infrastructure without mandating it. What works for daily commuters in the city may not work out on the farm, and the Governor needs to recognize that.

State Senator Gene Dornink can be rached by email at [email protected], or 651-296-5240.