Vehicle Emissions Bill With Local Impact Approved by Senate

(HARRISBURG) – The Senate has passed a bill that would, if signed into law, impact vehicle owners in Luzerne County, according to Senator John R. Gordner (R-27).

Senate Bill 744, which was co-sponsored by Senator Gordner, would exempt Luzerne County and 6 other counties across the state from current vehicle emissions testing requirements.

“New technologies have allowed vehicles to be increasingly more efficient in reducing emissions,” said Senator Gordner.  “Because of that advancement, a vast majority of tested vehicles have passed and shown that they are compliant with state and federal emissions standards.  That fact, along with the much improved air quality in Luzerne County, means that it no longer makes sense to impose this costly testing requirement upon vehicle owners in the county.”

In 1990, Congress set the requirement for an enhanced vehicle emissions inspection program via amendments to the Clean Air Act.  In 1997, the Commonwealth initiated an enhanced auto emissions testing program that was designed and implemented to improve the air quality in nine counties in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh regions.  By 1999, this program was expanded to the South Central and North East parts of the state.  At that time, vehicle owners in Luzerne County were required to undergo the testing, while citizens in adjoining counties, such as Columbia County, were not required to do so.

Senate Resolution 168 of 2017 called on the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a comprehensive study to evaluate the impacts of removing certain counties from testing requirements.  The Commission’s report was issued in January 2019.  This study identified 7 counties, including Luzerne County, as candidates to be removed from the program because their removal would have a minimal effect on the overall ability of the Commonwealth to maintain federal air quality standards.

Other states, including North Carolina and Tennessee, have recently removed counties from their testing programs because of improved air quality in those areas.

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for its consideration. 

 

CONTACT:  Mike Stephens (717) 787-8928