Emissions testing in Tennessee may soon be a thing of the past, but some are arguing that without it, the environment and lives will be at risk.

A group of local business and health leaders rallied outside of Senator Lamar Alexander’s Chattanooga office with signs that read, “Cleaner Cars, Cleaner Air.”

“I actually lived in Chattanooga for 30 years, and I am personally affected by the issue that we're here to talk about today, which is fuel emissions standards,” Lenda Sherrell, State Director of Tennessee Small Business Alliance, said.

Sherrell said the Clean Car Standards are key to fighting climate change and keeping us safe from toxic pollution.

Last April, legislators passed a bill to end emissions testing in six Tennessee counties, including Hamilton County.

But Sherrell says those tests help Chattanooga grow and boost tourism.
“Entrepreneurs now looking for a city where they can build a business want a clean environment where they can live and work and raise their families,” she explained.
Sherrell went on to explain that emissions testing also saves you money at the gas pump.  

“By 2030, it's estimated that the average household in Tennessee will save an average of $3,050 [annually] at the gas pump,” Sherrell said.

But that’s not all.

“If these standards remain in place, Tennessee can expect 15,700 new jobs by 2030,” Sherrell said.

Without those tests, Pediatrics Specialists Dr. Brent Morris says car pollution can cause health issues.

“We're talking about affected on unborn children including increased prematurity; more babies being born early. Two, an increase in the number of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, among other things,” he said. “We're talking about something that everyone here will feel on the inside.”

Now they're hoping government leaders, like Senator Alexander, will listen and take action to keep Chattanooga clean.

“In 2007, Senator Alexander was a big champion for these standards because he knows the value of a clean environment. We're just urging him today to continue to reaffirm his support for these current standards.”

The emissions bill is still in the hands of the EPA. Once they approve it, it could go into effect in 2020.