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Why Greater Minnesota lawmakers aren’t thrilled about the state’s new ‘Clean Cars’ rules

MPCA
California has long held authority granted by the federal government to set its own standards for tailpipe emissions and has required increasingly tough pollution regulations, known as the Low Emission Vehicle Standard.
The administration of Gov. Tim Walz is getting closer to finalizing its plan to adopt a set of auto emission and electric vehicle regulations aimed at fighting climate change. But while it doesn’t need the Legislature’s approval to move forward, skeptical lawmakers in both parties ripped the proposal on Wednesday as misguided, particularly for rural Minnesota.

MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop
MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop
Sen. Tom Bakk, a DFLer from Cook who was recently ousted as Senate Minority Leader, told state officials that an auto plan relying on tax incentives would face less “anxiety” than imposing new regulations to make cars pollute less. Bakk also said energy rates can be more expensive for people in rural Minnesota compared to the Twin Cities, while he said gasoline prices are fairly consistent. “Let’s make sure we create some parity across the state,” he said.

Bakk’s comments came at a joint meeting of two Senate committees at the Capitol on Wednesday, a panel convened to hear testimony from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency about the “Clean Cars” rules.

MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop defended the plan, which is modeled on California’s auto regulations, saying it will create more consumer choice for Minnesotans, reduce carbon emissions to help meet state goals and improve public health. Fourteen states and Washington, D.C., have adopted some or all of California’s rules, though Minnesota would be the first state in the Midwest. “We are not alone in pursuing this,” Bishop said.

The hearing showed, however, that Bishop will likely have to move ahead without consent from the Republican-led Senate and perhaps a handful of DFLers from rural areas. “There’s some concerns, well a lot of concerns actually, of the movement of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the administration going in this direction,” said Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria. “Certainly one of the issues is Minnesota is kind of a stand-alone.”

An assault on the Legislature’s constitutional authority? 

In September, Walz announced he would ask the MPCA to consider adopting California’s rules that promote low- and zero-emission vehicles. 

California has long held authority granted by the federal government to set its own standards for tailpipe emissions and has required increasingly tough pollution regulations, known as the Low Emission Vehicle Standard, that apply to cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty vehicles. Car manufacturers must also meet quotas for producing electric cars and plug-in hybrids for sale in the state, known as the Zero Emission Vehicle Standard.

President Donald Trump’s administration has been fighting in court to revoke California’s power to set its own rules and is also working to roll back national LEV standards. The federal LEV rules are currently in sync with California. For now, other states can choose to follow the federal government or match California’s regulations.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk
MinnPost photo by Walker Orenstein
At a news conference in the Capitol, Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk called for hearings on Gov. Tim Walz’s plan to require a carbon-free energy grid by 2050.
Bishop said the MPCA has authority to copy California without new legislative approval because of laws dating back to the 1960s granting her agency the right to adopt rules that control air pollution. The regulations, Bishop said, will help kickstart Minnesota’s electric vehicle market, which lags behind national leaders, and help lower emissions from the transportation sector, which account for the state’s greatest share of greenhouse gases.

Bishop said Minnesota would get more electric options at dealerships if the ZEV rules were adopted, making it easier for the growing number of people interested in electric cars to find and buy one. 

She knows the existing hurdles personally. Bishop said she tried to buy a Subaru Crosstrek plug-in hybrid last year, but was told by dealers the model wasn’t available in Minnesota and manufacturers wouldn’t provide one. “It’s very difficult at this time to get a ZEV or plug-in SUV,” Bishop said. “There aren’t that many models, but they aren’t available here in Minnesota, the models that are there.”

The MPCA has yet to roll out an official proposed rule. The agency first held several public meetings throughout the state along with a public comment period that closed in December. 

But many on the Senate panel said they were opposed to the effort anyway. Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, criticized Bishop for not yet holding a public hearing within a two-hour drive of her northern Minnesota district and Sen. Andrew Mathews, R-Princeton, said Minnesota shouldn’t cede control of its auto policy to California, which wrote the rules without Minnesota input.

State Sen. Bill Weber
State Sen. Bill Weber
Sen. Bill Weber, R-Luverne, criticized the MPCA’s plan because of a 2016 EPA projection that says California LEV rules could increase the up-front cost of buying a new car by more than $800. Weber said a price hike  could drive away car sales, particularly at dealerships along Minnesota borders. (The rules require technology that is expected to save consumers money over the life of a car, however, because owners have to buy less gasoline.)

Sen. Justin Eichorn, R-Grand Rapids, said the MPCA would have more support “outside of the 494/649 bubble” in the Twin Cities area for a policy that creates voluntary incentives for electric cars rather than hard mandates for manufacturers. “We’re already struggling in parts of this state economically,” Eichorn said. “Our blue collar workers up there are going to be the most greatly affected up there by these increased costs.”

Mathews pressed the MPCA to submit its plan to the Legislature, where it can be debated by elected officials, rather than try to adopt it unilaterally. “I see this as one of the strongest Article 1 grievances against our constitutional authority that we’ve seen from this administration,” Mathews said.

Intervention unlikely

Bishop and her staff rebutted many of the lawmakers’ points. Minnesota has some wiggle room to design its own system that allows vehicle manufacturers to bank credits to meet yearly ZEV quotas for delivering electric vehicles to Minnesota, for instance, or buy and sell credits from other manufacturers. This gives the companies flexibility to maintain compliance without only relying on sales in a given year, according to the MPCA.

If California rewrites its emissions rules, the MPCA would have to go through another rulemaking process to consider those individually, said Frank Kohlasch, the agency’s climate director. “Certainly we’re not doing the full extent of what California is doing,” Bishop said. “We are taking the LEV and the ZEV part of the California rules.”

The commissioner did not commit to seeking approval from the Legislature to adopt the Clean Cars rule, however. Lawmakers can always change or revoke the MPCA’s authority, though that is unlikely given that many DFLers in the majority Democrat House support the effort and Walz has veto power. The MPCA expects to roll out an early version of its rules soon, and then plans to hold more public meetings and allow another public comment period. The agency hopes to adopt the final rule in December.

“The Legislature granted the authority for the MPCA to go ahead with rule-making,” Bishop said. “We believe that we are following that authority.”

Some Democrats and environmental advocacy groups also defended the MPCA at the hearing on Wednesday. But GOP lawmakers and some DFLers from rural areas were not moved.

“I’m fine with people buying electric vehicles, don’t get me wrong,” Weber said. “But to me forcing this on people is not a proper function of government.”

Comments (54)

  1. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 02/20/2020 - 10:15 am.

    I wish I didn’t have to keep saying this, but its those of us in that 494/694 (not 649) bubble that are paying the bills. Rural Minnesota gets far more from the State Government coffers then it pays in and we don’t mind, but the animosity these outstate politicians keep trying to foment gets a little old. I guess its true what the say, dependence breeds contempt.

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/20/2020 - 10:31 am.

      Cite a factual source for your claim. All taxes in MN are relatively equal. And the Metro gets most of the LGA as well. It’s very unlikely you subsidize much outside the metro at all.

      • Submitted by Adam Miller on 02/20/2020 - 02:25 pm.

        You can declare facts “very unlikely” but that doesn’t make them not facts. The metro pays far more in taxes than is spent in the metro.

      • Submitted by Benjamin Osa on 02/20/2020 - 04:14 pm.

        Bob Barnes – Here ya go (google is really easy to use btw, and please stop gaslighting the readers of Minnpost in the comment section):

        http://www.citypages.com/news/at-the-capitol-minneapolis-st-paul-plays-the-villain-and-pays-the-bills/428240843

        From the article:
        “Of the state’s 87 counties, more than half of Minnesota’s income tax revenue comes from just four: Hennepin, Ramsey, Dakota, and Washington. But it doesn’t seem to matter. “These people have been, quite frankly, ingrained to think that way from a young age,” Dehn says.

        Take Fairmont (population 11,000), which next year will get about half its budget from the state. To a small-town mayor, that aid means a new police officer racing to a domestic abuse call at 1 a.m. It can be the difference between being a city and a very long cul de sac with a welcome sign.”

        • Submitted by Mark Kulda on 02/27/2020 - 07:12 pm.

          Only 47% of the state’s budget comes from income tax. 40% of it comes from sales taxes. I think when you talk total tax burden, its more equal than you think and than what other media have reported.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/20/2020 - 08:36 pm.

        Please engage in some, just a little, investigation, before engaging that oversized barnyard auger!
        http://www.citypages.com/news/at-the-capitol-minneapolis-st-paul-plays-the-villain-and-pays-the-bills/428240843

      • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 02/21/2020 - 08:17 am.

        Its common sense Bob, the metro area is the economic engine that drives the state economy. As has been stated, we pay far more in taxes than we receive back from the state, while out state cities rely heavily on LGA to balance their budgets is a much smaller portion of the budget for my city Minneapolis.

        Here’s a great chart on transportation funding. It shows Donor counties (those that pay more than they get back) and Donee (some call them Taker) counties. Its pretty much the same for all taxes.
        Its 5 years old but its gotten worse not better:

        https://streets.mn/2015/01/14/map-of-the-day-state-highway-taxes-vs-state-highway-spending/

        By the way this is similar around the country. Most if not all the “Red” states receive more back from the Federal Government that they pay in. Here in Minnesota we get about $.72 back for every dollar we send in.

      • Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 02/21/2020 - 09:37 am.

        The real question is who generates LGA, it ain’t rural MN

    • Submitted by Bob Petersen on 02/20/2020 - 12:01 pm.

      Minneapolis and St Paul receive the largest LGAs than any other city.
      Since when do any of these metro legislators ever think of having an electric car when it’s been several days below zero out in the rural parts of our state? Just because something sounds good doesn’t mean it is good.

    • Submitted by Peter Pesheck on 02/20/2020 - 12:37 pm.

      … and the CO2 generated inside the bubble will accelerate warming (with impact on farming, lakes and rivers, fishing, snow sports, etc.) everywhere in the state. Every pound of CO2 we generate will remain for centuries to impact the lives of our kids and grand-kids. Some scenarios (if we don’t get busy soon) are scary.

  2. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 02/20/2020 - 10:21 am.

    “Sen. Tom Bakk, a DFLer from Cook who was recently ousted as Senate Minority Leader, told state officials that an auto plan relying on tax incentives would face less “anxiety” than imposing new regulations to make cars pollute less.”

    We don’t have a tax incentive problem. We have an air pollution/climate change problem. Vehicle exhaust is the single largest source of both greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution in Minnesota.

    The proposed rule change doesn’t force anyone to buy a vehicle they don’t want. If you want a big pickup or SUV, you will be free to buy one. Just like today.

    What it will do is offer more selection in Minnesota dealerships. The choice of which vehicle you buy is still up to you. You’ll just have more choices.

    • Submitted by Bob Petersen on 02/20/2020 - 12:03 pm.

      Yet it is other countries that are polluting more and more than our country does. And even if all of Minnesota removes its gas cars, the effect will still be basically zero.

      • Submitted by Richard Owens on 02/20/2020 - 01:11 pm.

        The USA has already added more historical CO2 than most countries could– ever. Blaming China or India or any of the poor nations where energy is burning sticks or grass or coal for our own failure to even ACKNOWLEDGE the problem…

        It’s called Chutzpah, especially when China has driven down the cost of solar and wind in their manufacturing, and every other nation has committed to reducing these gasses while we wage trade wars and brag about “America First.”

        How can someone explain to those who want to wait until everybody else is addressing the climate emergency until we act– WE LIVE ON ONE PLANET. (there ain’t no “planet B”)

        Note to those who are clueless: there cannot be a perpetual motion machine, and that includes EARTH. We can merely extend the time we have until resources and systems no longer support life.

      • Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 02/21/2020 - 07:49 am.

        Minnesota is not responsible for what steps the federal government takes, or the actions of foreign governments. It is responsible for the laws and rules within its borders, and it can help set an example for other states.

        At the very least, we should see some cleaner air and more choices at the dealership as a result.

      • Submitted by Patrick Tice on 02/21/2020 - 09:16 am.

        It’s a standard climate denier rhetorical device – no point in doing anything when someone else is so much worse. I’ll bet your mom didn’t accept that argument when your little brother drew on the walls with markers and you insisted that because he did it, so can you.

    • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 02/20/2020 - 01:07 pm.

      And you forgot this quote:

      “Bakk also said energy rates can be more expensive for people in rural Minnesota compared to the Twin Cities, while he said gasoline prices are fairly consistent.” So now it’s up to the Metro to subsidize out-state energy costs.

      • Submitted by Patrick Tice on 02/21/2020 - 09:29 am.

        Indeed. The very nature of living in a rural location is that goods and services are less easily accessed and more costly. That is why you have to travel to the Metro for specialty medical services or to see a play at the Guthrie. Everything that is manufactured and distributed in the most efficient ways possible is delivered most cheaply to denser populations – cities. And that is why rural areas require subsidized services.

      • Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 02/21/2020 - 09:40 am.

        Electricity rates are higher in the NE because Bakk And his buddies pushed the cost of electricity for mining onto consumers under the Dayton admin, against his wishes. They also imposed a tax on electric cars to pay for roads. Maybe that money should stay where it is paid?

    • Submitted by Eric Sandeen on 02/21/2020 - 09:41 am.

      Tax incentives cannot incentivize the purchase of a car which is not even offered for sale in the state. That’s the fallacy of his argument here.

  3. Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/20/2020 - 10:30 am.

    More mandates that we don’t need. Perhaps the MPCA should do a little research before making rules. Batteries don’t work well in cold weather. That’s why MN will never be a haven for electric vehicles. Also, EVs do not save the consumer money over the long run. They actually cost more than gas powered cars unless gas spikes to much higher prices than we have now.

    MN is going off the deep end and it’s going to cost the residents a lot.

    • Submitted by M Olson on 02/20/2020 - 11:37 am.

      Electric transportation is the future no matter where you live. We will always need gasoline and diesel but it’s price isn’t assured. Having lived and waited in line during the oil embargo in the 70’s don’t take oil for granted even with increased domestic production. Investors are fleeing as are insurers.
      Our last century auto, a 1999 Honda will be replaced with an electric. This proposal seems to increase consumers choices without costs to taxpayers as I see it unless I missed something.
      Also, without the dynamic Metro area I wonder what our twelfth largest state would be like, a “cold Omaha?”

      • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/20/2020 - 02:40 pm.

        Not so fast. It would cost many trillions to add the grid infrastructure to support electric transport. Sorry that’s a pipe dream. IF we go to Thorium reactors it might be a bit more realistic. Battery tech is woefully short to handle cold winters etc. they are also extremely inefficient and dirty to make and recycle.

        • Submitted by Sean Taylor on 02/20/2020 - 06:18 pm.

          Perhaps we could subsidize the creation of this grid, just as we did for petroleum? Wasn’t that long ago the petroleum industry was gratefully taking in an amazing amount of public money, even when they were making a profit. In short, we have to invest in the future, if we are to have a viable future. The price of a gallon of gas is really irrelevant when it comes to CO2 levels.

          • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/21/2020 - 02:02 pm.

            That is a false statement. Oil companies don’t get subsidies and haven’t for a very long time. They get faster depreciation and other tax breaks due to the extreme costs they incur in searching for oil and drilling down to it. But that is not a subsidy. A subsidy is a direct payment from the govt ie the 7500 dollar rebate for an EV or the 30+ billion that wind and solar EACH get annually (on top of any tax breaks like oil gets). And btw, Exxon is one of the biggest taxpayers in the world.

            • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/22/2020 - 11:35 am.

              Looks like you got that gas lighting thing going full tilt boogie again along with the auger!

              “So what’s the verdict? Adding everything up: $14.7 billion in federal subsidies and $5.8 billion in state-level incentives, for a total of $20.5 billion annually in corporate welfare. Of that total, 80 percent goes to oil and gas, 20 percent to coal.”

              https://www.fuelfreedom.org/oil-company-subsidies/

              “As noted earlier: “Citing reputable sources is not something I readily associate with Mr. Barnes’ claims, but I’d be happy to be convinced otherwise”.”

        • Submitted by M Olson on 02/21/2020 - 09:22 am.

          Electric cars are fast! Each home garage is a charging station. The fossil fuel industry grew with subsidies why not the new technology? I think current filling stations have electricity and could sell some. This is our future, we overcome obstacles with new and better ideas.
          Have you noticed how battery powered equipment is now mainstream? Chainsaws, trimmers, mowers and more. Electric motorcycles! No more deafening noise pollution please. So what or whom would be against electrification? The same subsidy sucking corporation$ that buried global warming research and lied about it.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 02/23/2020 - 11:10 pm.

          Strange then that tens of thousands of ice anglers take their battery powered augers, and battery powered electronics out frozen lakes every year (more and more each one in fact). I guess it must be awfully warm out there huh?

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 02/20/2020 - 12:27 pm.

      As you wrote in a reply to another, “Cite a factual source for your claim.”

      From a political standpoint, if the legislature would address the issue, the executive branch would not need to step in. Given the lack of action from the lege, it is not only appropriate, but admirable that the executive branch has shown leadership. Perhaps this move will motivate the legislature to pass an improved bill that supercedes the MPCA’s rule. Until then, it’s good to see someone taking action to lead MN in the right direction.

    • Submitted by Kelly Guncheon on 02/20/2020 - 01:26 pm.

      I own and drive an EV, and while the cold affects my battery capacity, it doesn’t mean I drive it less. Moreover, EVs are getting more and more efficient as their evolution continues. I charge my car with wind-generated electricity. So please explain (and cite sources) why my car is more expensive.

    • Submitted by Mark Snyder on 02/20/2020 - 01:29 pm.

      I’m not sure where Mr. Barnes has done his research, but he’s incorrect about a couple of things right off the bat:

      1. To charge an EV costs roughly the equivalent of $1 per gallon in the Xcel Energy service territory. Plus, you no longer have maintenance costs such as oil changes or transmission service to pay for.

      2. Like Mr. Moffitt stated above, this is not a “mandate” on anyone except for auto dealers to offer a greater selection of EVs. That’s it. Anyone who still prefers to purchase a vehicle with a gasoline or diesel engine will be free to do so under this rule.

    • Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 02/21/2020 - 09:49 am.

      Sorry, that is flat false. E cars always start if they have any charge, they heat up faster and battery range only deteriorates by 10-15% with sub zero from our experience

  4. Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 02/20/2020 - 12:51 pm.

    “Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, criticized Bishop for not yet holding a public hearing within a two-hour drive of her northern Minnesota district and Sen. Andrew Mathews, R-Princeton, said Minnesota shouldn’t cede control of its auto policy to California, which wrote the rules without Minnesota input.”

    There was a hearing in Fergus Falls which, according to google maps, is 2 hours and 1 minute from Breezy Point. So I guess, technically, she’s right. There were also hearings in Virginia, Marshall, and Mankato. The state was pretty well covered.

    And exactly what control is being ceded to California? We are using their rules as a template and then creating our own. Republicans seem to have no problem with ceding control to ALEC.

  5. Submitted by Stan Hooper on 02/20/2020 - 01:24 pm.

    What’s the rule? How does it work? Years ago MN had an emissions test system that went defunct because the percentage of vehicles found to be beyond the emission limits was minuscule. So MN saved money by eliminating the testing. So, now what’s different? Give us some info, M\inn Post. Second, why don’t car dealers sell all-electric vehicles in MN? Because it’s an infrastructure cost, a lack of (untested) demand, or because MN is that crummy fly-by state that no one needs to deal with?

  6. Submitted by Adam Miller on 02/20/2020 - 02:24 pm.

    This is how screwed we are. A Dem governor proposes half-measures that won’t get the job done and… gets push back from other Dems even more in denial.

  7. Submitted by Alan Straka on 02/20/2020 - 04:14 pm.

    “The rules require technology that is expected to save consumers money over the life of a car, however, because owners have to buy less gasoline.”

    Except that the loss of money from the gas tax will have to be made up somehow. Some states are already looking at charging a per mile tax or annual fee on electric vehicles.

  8. Submitted by Eric Sandeen on 02/21/2020 - 09:37 am.

    Bakk was frankly wrong on the rate question. Most co-ops are quite EV friendly, even more so than Xcel.

    Here’s his co-op: https://www.lakecountrypower.com/electric-vehicles
    They have a very attractive off-peak EV rate, $0.05/kWh, and very generous incentives for charging equipment purchases.

    Lastly, his comment that incentives are better than regulation makes little sense in the context of the problem Clean Cars is trying to solve: You cannot incentivize Minnesotans to purchase cars which are not even offered for sale in the state.

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/21/2020 - 02:10 pm.

      So forcing private businesses to carry cars no one wants is your answer? That will just drive up the cost of all other cars since dealers won’t eat those costs. Or it will drive some dealers out of business since people can buy across the border where prices will be lower.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 02/23/2020 - 11:18 pm.

        Why don’t YOU want one Bob. Personally I can’t wait until the electric trucks start coming around, boats too. It will make my outdoors experience much more enjoyable. The greater quiet on frozen lakes as a result of the reduction in gas augers has been wonderful. Getting rid of the truck engines and generators will be better still. I really don’t care so much about the environmental effects, progress on that regard must come from an industrial level to have any real effect, but the prospect of easy, reliable, function is enticing. Any effort to bring that end as quickly as possible is welcome.

  9. Submitted by Matthew Vatter on 02/21/2020 - 09:59 am.

    It would seem to be a better solution to incentivize the private sector to establish the infrastructure required to support FEVs. Why would anyone in out state MN invest in an FEV if a) you can only charge at your home, b) there are no repair services available and c) no utility type vehicles are available? One big reason dealerships are reluctant to carry inventory is the relatively small interest in FEVs outside the metro area and the lack of supporting infrastructure. Rather than mandating more inventory, provide financial incentives to dealerships that offer a certain percent of their inventory in FEVs, create incentives that enable independent gas station owners to convert to rapid vehicle charging; provide scholarships to students and incentives to tech schools to train service technicians in EV repair and maintenance, provide tax credits to homeowners that install renewable sourced EV charging capability. All of this would have a stronger impact on converting transportation methodology than mandates. If we create business opportunities rather than government mandates, we’ll get to where we need to be far sooner and in a more sustainable manner.

    • Submitted by Eric Sandeen on 02/21/2020 - 01:09 pm.

      Matthew, the whole point of the Clean Cars initiative is to bring EV models to the state which are not currently available for sale here. This is a manufacturer issue, not a dealer issue – in many cases they cannot sell these cars even if they wanted to. We can’t incentivize a dealer to sell a car the manufacturer will simply not provide in our state.

  10. Submitted by Joyce Prudden on 02/21/2020 - 03:21 pm.

    There might be more demand for electric cars if they were advertised. When Chevy won Motor Trend Car of the Year for both the Volt and Bolt, dealers did not even have a poster on the window announcing it. They also had very few if any in stock for people to even test drive. If a customer wanted to test drive them, the salesman would try to talk him/her out of it. When there are 10% of the ads for pickup trucks and SUVs maybe we will have a better idea if anyone wants to buy them.

    • Submitted by Mark Kulda on 02/27/2020 - 07:21 pm.

      Yes sales of the Bolt in 2019 were 22% lower than the year before. So it seems consumers don’t want them very much or they’d be buying more of them.

  11. Submitted by Malcolm Parker on 02/24/2020 - 06:25 am.

    I would drive an EV to remote places if a charging network were in place. Same for Honda’s GX methane Civic.
    For now, there are hybrids. Fuel savings are real. No range anxiety. Few understand that mpg numbers are logrithmic, and gallons per (100) miles are linear. GM tried to sell hybrid trucks, but buyers were uninterested.
    Rural America is not ready for rural electrification of the fleet, unless you wish to drive a Tesla along its charger network. All this may change.

  12. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/24/2020 - 12:13 pm.

    You know looking at some of these comments, curious how many of these folks would prefer we still be riding horses rather than following the invention of the automobile, railing against light rail, despite rail being around since ~ 6 BC, guess for some folks that is new technology that we are overly-aggressively pushing into the public space. First electric car 1890-91, again evidently society is again being overly aggressive pushing this technology into the market place, We should slow down for a 1000 years or so for these folks to get mentally caught up with this light speed change in technology. .

    . progress just seems to drive them crazy! Wonder if they are still using those crank up phones as well. .

  13. Submitted by Joe Smith on 02/24/2020 - 04:19 pm.

    Great, the nickel needed to build batteries can be mined up here on the Range…. Silver lining in it for workers .

  14. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/25/2020 - 08:16 am.

    I would just point out the fact that some of the commenters here don’t necessarily represent the rural folk they pretend to. It’s increasingly clear that farmers, being rather practical people at the end of the day are no longer dismissing the climate change that is impacting their crop yields so dramatically. And elsewhere out state where resorts and being hit hard by sketchy winter snows and thin lake ice those folks are probably slipping out their denial as well. For practical people ignorant ideological denial loses it’s appeal sooner rather than later.

    I would also point out that many people choose to live outside urban areas precisely because they’re trying to reduce their carbon footprint, and is some cases getting out of the city and it’s extensive energy grids is the best way to do that. These are people who would welcome the chance to buy electric cars. Not everyone in rural MN is a gas guzzling carbon champion.

    The problem with out-state Republican lawmakers, and Democrats like Bakk, is that they talk about their constituents but they don’t act in their best interests at the end of the day. Republicans run on re-balancing their imaginary rural-urban divide but once elected they focus on imposing their “values” on everyone and attacking urban initiatives. In most cases these agendas harm rural Minnesotans more than help. Consider for instance the Republican slashes to LGA in order to pay for their tax cuts. The fact that even when try to increase spending in rural areas their budgets are smaller than Democrat budgets. Etc. etc. Whatever.

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