WORTHINGTON — Nobles County commissioners took action Tuesday to oppose a move by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency seeking the state’s adoption of California car standards.

The MPCA is in the process of creating a rule to require only low-emission and zero emission vehicles be sold in the state by 2035. The agency published notice of its intent on Dec. 21, and a two-day hearing is scheduled next week before an administrative law judge. Public comments are being accepted through March 15.

If the rule is enacted, dealers in Minnesota could no longer be allowed to trade in non-compliant vehicles.

Board chairman Gene Metz said if the rule goes into effect, any time the California rules change, Minnesota rules would also change, based on the wording. The resolution opposing the MPCA’s efforts began with the Automobile Dealers of Minnesota.

Commissioners also approved a policy statement from Minnesota Rural Counties opposing the adoption of California standards for cars and light- to medium-duty vehicles.

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The proposed language of the MRC policy is: “MRC supports legislative review of any and all issues of consequence that would bring harm to the culture and/or economy of rural counties. Further, MRC opposes the attempt by the MPCA to adopt the Minnesota Clean Car rule without consulting the legislature and encourages the Walz administration to withdraw the proposed rule and submit the issue to legislative review.”

In other business, the board:

  • Recognized Veterans Services Officer Bill “Brock” Brockberg upon his retirement after more than 13 years in the position. Brockberg said he will continue to serve as a volunteer driver for Nobles County’s Department of Veterans Affairs van transportation program.

“The job was absolutely the best job that an Army retiree could have,” Brockberg shared, noting several successes during his tenure, among which was securing the veterans transport van, and assisting veterans and their spouses in getting several large sums of money in retroactive pay and benefits.

The county had four applicants for the VSO position, and a background check is currently being conducted on one of the candidates.

  • Approved a five-year property tax abatement through the Nobles Home Initiative for KJSM Investments LLC (Kyle and Jason Johnson), to construct a two-unit condominium in Lot 1, Block 1 of the Cherrywood Addition.

  • Authorized a resolution of support in the city of Adrian’s quest for Local Road Improvement Program funding. Since the federal funding can only be awarded to cities with a population of 5,000 or more residents, Nobles County will act as the oversight agency for the project if the funds are received. The city of Adrian would be responsible for Nobles County’s costs, which Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder said should not amount to more than $5,000, unless additional responsibilities are added.

The city of Adrian is seeking the funding to remove the existing bituminous pavement, as well as a foot of subgrade, to install perforated subdrains, new aggregate base and bituminous surfacing on Sixth Street West.

  • Approved a resolution making a Larkin Township bridge north of Interstate 90, and near Nobles County 15, a priority to apply for Town Bridge Account funding so that the existing drainage structure can be replaced. The structure is undersized, causing water to overtop the road regularly.

  • Approved the county’s annual township road allocation. This year, the county received $507,495 to be distributed among its townships.

  • Amended the county’s fee schedule to reflect an increase in the rate for maternal child health visits from $130 to $180. The increase is the result of private insurance companies increasing their maximum reimbursement rates.

  • Tabled discussion on the redetermination of benefits on County Ditch 6 to obtain guidance from Kurt Deter of Rinke-Noonan, the county’s drainage attorney.

  • Learned 162 applications were received for the county’s COVID-19 Relief grant program. A subcommittee is slated to do an initial review of applications on Monday, with further review by the full board during a Feb. 24 work session.