The Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing whether emissions testing in Tennessee should end, and the public has an opportunity to weigh in.
The state sent the two applications to end testing, one for Hamilton County (Chattanooga area) and one for a group of five Middle Tennessee counties, said Kim Schofinski, deputy communications director for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
The Middle Tennessee counties are Rutherford, Davidson, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson.
“They are processing those requests and will determine whether they will approve the requests,” Schofinski said.
Comments to the EPA are due by 10:59 p.m. July 13 at regulations.gov. Type (EPA R04 OAR 2019 0618 0001) in the search bar near the top of the page.
The comment page does not list a date when a decision would be made or when the testing would end.
Emissions testing costs $9 before a driver may renew a tag. If a vehicle fails the test, a driver may be required to make expensive repairs.
The Tennessee Ledger website, published by State Rep. Mike Sparks (R-Smyrna), said TDEC made the recommendation to the EPA after it completed an air quality study. The EPA evaluated the analysis and preliminarily agrees with the recommendation.
The regulations.gov comment page says, “EPA is proposing to approve the removal of Tennessee's inspection and maintenance (I/M) program requirements … because removing the requirements is consistent with the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act) and applicable regulations.”
The state legislature in 2018 voted to begin the process of ending the testing, but the EPA’s permission is required.