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Legislators speak on ending emissions

Jacob Smith • May 23, 2018 at 8:16 PM

State Rep. Clark Boyd and Sen. Mark Pody spoke at the Wilson County Commission meeting Monday night about the recently passed legislative measure to end emissions testing in Tennessee.

The initiative, which received unanimous support from members of the Wilson County legislative delegation, as well as Tennessee General Assembly members, would apply to residents in Hamilton, Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson counties where vehicle emissions testing is required prior to vehicle registration of renewal.

Pody said the idea for the bill to eliminate testing came after a report was released from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation in August that revealed all 95 Tennessee counties met federal air quality health standards. After the results of the report were released, lawmakers determined that mandatory testing was no longer needed.

Pody clarified, however, that each individual county could vote to keep emissions testing mandatory within 30 days of the law’s passage, at which point it would automatically go into effect.

Pody said he didn’t yet have a time frame for when the legislation would go into effect, but it would depend on how long it took to hear back from the federal government, which must grant permission to the state to remove emissions testing.

The 1990 Federal Clean Air Act required the state to develop more restrictive regulations to control air pollution from mobile sources in counties that didn’t meet the federal standards for air quality.

Testing is currently done on vehicle models from 1975 and newer if those vehicles are powered by gasoline or diesel engines and weigh up to 10,500 pounds. More than 1.5 million vehicles went through emissions tests in Tennessee last year in the six counties where it is required.

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