VIRGINIA — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on Monday announced a series of public meetings on the state’s plan to adopt new clean car standards, an initiative laid out by Gov. Tim Walz last month.

MPCA officials will be seeking public comments and input at the Miners Memorial Building in Virginia from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12. It’s the only meeting scheduled on the Iron Range for the proposed rule, which the MPCA expects to issue in early 2020, with the adoption of the rules by December 2020.

“MPCA welcomes all comments on the rule, including simply stating whether or not the agency should adopt these standards and why,” stated a press release from the state agency.

Last month, Walz announced the plan for new clean car standards, which will require car manufacturers to sell more electric vehicles in the state by the 2023 model year, a move aimed at reducing emissions and saving consumers at the gas pump. He touted not only the intended environmental benefits of having more electric, but also a local boost to rural electric cooperatives and communities in the form of jobs and economic activity.

The plan follows that of 14 other states. Under the proposed low emission vehicle standard, affecting hybrids, each manufacturer would have to meet fleet-wide standards based on their vehicle mix, reducing average car emissions by an annual 5 percent through model year 2025. The proposed separate standard for zero emission vehicles, which are fully electric, would require manufacturers to deliver an increasing volume of them annually.

Similar meetings are taking place throughout Minnesota over the next two months in Fergus Falls, Burnsville, Marshall, Minneapolis and Mankato. The MPCA is holding a statewide webinar from noon to 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4.

The meetings are part of the MPCA’s official Request for Comments, the agency’s legal notice of its intent to begin rulemaking, in the State Register. The Request for Comments period is 60 days, and the public is encouraged to submit written comments until 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 6, 2019.

More information can be found at www.mn.gov/cleancars.

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