By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (AP/WCCO) – Minnesota regulators got a green light Friday to adopt new “clean car” rules without getting approval from the Legislature.

A ruling from an administrative law judge allows the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to move forward with its plan to write new regulations that would require manufacturers to deliver more electric cars and hybrids for sale at Minnesota car lots. The new rules would be similar to those in California and more than a dozen other states, the Star Tribune reported.

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Several Republican lawmakers and auto dealers from across the state objected to the proposed rules, arguing that new emission standards should come from the Legislature. But Administrative Law Judge Jessica Palmer-Denig ruled that the agency has clear authority to adopt rules that address air pollution.

Republican lawmakers have opposed the rules since Democratic Gov. Tim Walz first announced plans to adopt them in 2019. Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, of Alexandria, threatened this week to shut down the state’s environmental agencies, including state parks, by blocking an environmental budget unless Walz and the MPCA back down on the new emission rules.

But environmental groups and electric vehicle advocates praised Friday’s ruling, saying it will help Minnesota catch up to its goals to cut greenhouse gases and fight climate change.

MPCA Assistant Commissioner Craig McDonnell said the rules, which regulate what comes out of tailpipes, will also give Minnesotans who want to purchase an electric vehicle more choice in the marketplace.

“This doesn’t require anyone to purchase an EV, [they] will be able to purchase the cleanest, you know, most fuel-efficient option,” he said.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)