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Joint State Government Commission: Removing PA Counties From Vehicle Emissions Testing Program Not Authorized By Federal Law

The Joint State Government Commission Wednesday released a report on Pennsylvania’s Vehicle Emissions Testing Program that concluded removing individual or groups of counties from the testing requirement was not authorized under the federal Clean Air Act.

Senate Resolution 168 (Langerholc-R-Bedford) asked the Joint Commission to establish an advisory committee to review the potential impact of removing one or more counties from the vehicle emissions testing program.

The Resolution also asked the Commission for recommendations on how the loss of any emissions benefits from removing counties could be made up by requiring reductions from other sources of air pollution.

“The overwhelming consensus of the advisory committee was that revisions to the SIP [State Air Quality Implementation Plan] suggested by Senate Resolution 168 that would remove certain counties from the vehicle emissions testing program are not authorized under the CAA [federal Clean Air Act].

“The driving factor in this conclusion is the fact that Congress included Pennsylvania in the Northeast Ozone Transport Region (OTR) under the CAA, and the CAA imposes expanded geographical coverage for vehicle inspection and maintenance programs in OTR states.

“Additionally, a majority of the advisory committee was also of the opinion that removing any counties from the SIP was inadvisable for adverse public health and environmental reasons.

“Because the Advisory Committee has determined that no counties should be removed, there is no environmental or other financial impact to be considered.

“Given that there are 20 counties in the group under consideration in this report, and that the resolution discussed removing these counties both individually and collectively, an attempt to calculate the potential impact of the thousands possible combinations of those counties was unrealistic.”

At various times bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to exempt certain counties from the state’s vehicle emissions inspection program.

Click Here for a summary of the report.  Click Here for a copy of the full report.

For more information on the vehicle emissions inspection program, visit PennDOT’s Emissions Inspection Program webpage.

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[Posted: Oct. 25, 2018]


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