The EPA is reviewing whether emissions testing in Tennessee should end, and the public has an opportunity to weigh in on the issue.
The state sent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency two applications or packages to end testing, one for Hamilton County 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 July 13 at 10:59 p.m. at regulations.gov. To submit a comment, type in EPA-R04-OAR-2019-0618-0001 in the search bar near the top.
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 said, “EPA is proposing to approve the removal of Tennessee's inspection and maintenance program requirements … because removing the requirements is consistent with the Clean Air Act and applicable regulations.”
The legislature in 2018 voted to begin the process to end the testing, but the EPA’s permission is required.