UPDATE: State lawmakers push to end vehicle-emissions testing in - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: State lawmakers push to end vehicle-emissions testing in Hamilton, 5 other counties

Posted: Updated:
HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

Emissions testing for vehicles in Tennessee may soon be a thing of the past.

A bill would put a halt to the testing that is required in a handful of counties including Hamilton County.

In August of 2017, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced the entire state was in compliance with federal air quality health standards for particle pollution. Two state lawmakers said that's a good reason why emissions testing needs to end.

Channel 3 spoke with Gary Cole who was walking into the Hamilton County courthouse to get his registration renewed for his truck. Before getting to this step, his vehicle had to be tested for emissions.

"It's a bother because you have to go there and pay their fee and then come over here and pay the other fee," Cole said.

Cole has a few vehicles and says the testing fee of $9 can add up. He's happy to hear state lawmakers are considering getting rid of it. 

"You'd save a little money, at least," Cole said.

State Senator Bo Watson and State Representative Mike Carter are behind the idea. They said the emissions testing is a common complaint they hear from residents.

"I think it's a tax on those who can least afford it and two it's a strategy that has achieved its goal and and is no longer necessary," State Sen. Bo Watson, (R) Hixson said.

The 1990 Federal Clean Air Act required Tennessee to come up with regulations in counties that were not meeting standards.

They tested Hamilton County's air quality in 2004 and it fell short. That's no longer the case.

"If it's something that we're able to do away with as it relates to the EPA regulations and the TDEC regulations and we don't have to do it anymore, then I certainly support doing away with it," Mayor Jim Coppinger of Hamilton County said.

Mayor Coppinger said the testing allowed the county to be a part of economic development projects at enterprise south that included landing Volkswagen. He said the county will continue with what they've been doing until the law says otherwise.

Mayor Andy Berke's office did not have a comment on the proposal.

Cole hopes this is the last emissions test he'll have to pay for.

"I hope it passes," Cole said.

A spokeswoman for TDEC said more than 286,429 vehicles went through emissions testing last year in Hamilton County. Below are the other counties that require the testing:

County                      # of Paid Tests

Davidson                    597,453

Rutherford                 232,078         

Sumner                       126,216

Williamson                 200,782

Wilson                        81,710

TDEC also said they're aware of the bill and are developing an analysis through the traditional process with the legislature.

If it becomes law, it's unclear when the proposal will go into effect.

WEEKLY CIRCULARS

Weather

Powered by Frankly