Plan for emissions testing alternative in the works
We all have to go through the emissions testing process. However, some Tennessee counties may be doing away with it.
Tennessee Senator Bo Watson says a plan is in the works to end emissions testing.
The Tennessee Senate passed a bill in April to eliminate mandatory emissions testing after Hamilton County's air quality reached federal compliance.
“We are shutting down coal fire furnaces, which is the largest contributor,” Senator Bo Watson said. “TVA is now shutting those down, and they are going away.”
Senator Bo Watson grew up in Chattanooga and has seen first-hand the air quality improvements in Hamilton County.
He says it's time for counties to evolve with technology.
“Technology has changed for emissions in companies,” Watson said. “There are a lot of things that used to be in play back in the 70s 80s and 90s that no longer exist.”
Watson said emissions testing is one of the biggest taxes on the working poor.
“Imagine that you have an older car you work on a very low income, and you can't get it to pass, it’s going to cost you $600 to $800 to get it fixed,” Watson added.
But passing the bill is only the first hurdle.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation must present an alternative to the emissions testing plan to federal authorities.
It could take years to implement.
Hamilton County is one of five counties that will be included in the plan.
A committee has been formed to explore an alternative. They have about 18 months to develop a solid solution to present to the EPA.
“There is a process,” Watson said. “We know the process. It's just picking the right replacement method for them. So they will update us quarterly.”
Until that plan is presented, approved and put into action, emissions testing will continue here in Hamilton County.
That means you will have to have your car tested as part of the tag renewal process.
It's not clear when that will stop, or what the future holds for testing facilities.
Watson said we can expect the first draft of the plan as early as next month.