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Day two of David Pecker testimony wraps in NY Trump trial; Supreme Court hears arguments on Idaho's near-total abortion ban; ND sees a flurry of campaigning among Native candidates; and NH lags behind other states in restricting firearms at polling sites.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

MN transportation sector could be next in line for carbon-free standard

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Monday, March 4, 2024   

Minnesota already has a law calling for 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040. Now, there's a similar plan for transportation, and a legislative committee will consider the idea today.

The clean transportation standard has a target year of 2050 for phasing out carbon-intensive fuel sources for cars and trucks.

Producers slow to adapt would have to buy credits, while companies distributing cleaner products would receive incentives.

Transportation accounts for about a quarter of Minnesota's greenhouse gas emissions, and Fresh Energy's Senior Lead for Innovation and Impact Margaret Cherne-Hendrick said this approach could help reduce that total.

She pointed to newer types of biofuels, beyond standards like ethanol.

"For example, winter oil seeds are better for the environment," said Cherne-Hendrick. "They require much less fertilizer. "

University of Minnesota researchers note these seeds could benefit parts of the transportation sector that face challenges in going electric, such as heavy-duty trucks.

Under the bill, fuel sources would be graded on their carbon intensity - to determine where they rate with the standard.

Skeptics, including some environmental researchers, say the plan could have unintended consequences in reducing emissions.

State Senate Transportation Committee Chair Scott Dibble - DFL-Minneapolis - said while there's a strong push for electric vehicle adoption, many people right now still have to buy cars powered by traditional fuel sources.

"The market penetration is still very small for EVs," said Dibble, "and they're going to own and operate that liquid fuel-based car for the coming 20 plus years."

As the EV market takes shape, he said it makes sense to fill these other cars with the cleanest fuels possible.

There's still a lot to sort out in establishing the standard, and Dibble acknowledged it might have to start as a goal, given the current state of fuel technology.

His bill calls for a one-time appropriation of $900,000 for implementation, but Dibble insisted the incentives market would largely support itself in the long-term.



Disclosure: Fresh Energy contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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