Thursday, August 23, 2001

Tailpipe tests again challenged

Ky. asked to exempt newer model vehicles

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        UNION — A Northern Kentucky lawmaker is once again trying to exempt newer vehicles from the region's mandatory tailpipe testing.

        State Rep. Paul Marcotte, R-Union, has prefiled a bill for the 2002 General Assembly session that would exempt vehicles four years old and newer from the tests.

        “It doesn't make any sense to force people to bring in their cars and trucks for (vehicle emissions testing) when the vehicles are new,” Mr. Marcotte said Wednesday. “They aren't the cause of pollution and it isn't fair to waste their time and money.”

        Northern Kentucky lawmakers — including Mr. Marcotte and Republican Sens. Katie Stine of Fort Thomas and Dick Roeding of Lakeside Park — tried to pass a similar bill last year. It passed the Senate, made it out of a House committee but died in the full House without a vote.

        The latest bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Perry Clark, D-Louisville. Northern Kentucky and the Louisville area are the only regions in the state where the tests are required.

        The federal Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the tests — which began in fall 2000 — because in the past Northern Kentucky has not met air quality standards under the Clean Air Act.

        Every vehicle registered in Northern Kentucky and built after 1968 must go through the tests, which cost $20, every other year. If a vehicle fails, it must be repaired and then retested before its license plates can be renewed.

        Mr. Marcotte said the National Academy of Science's National Research Council issued a report recently stating that there is no justification for testing late model cars and trucks.

        The bill will be considered in the General Assembly session that begins in January.

        “This bill really had a lot of support in this area and I believe recent research, including the recent National Academy of Science report, makes it even more important for us to reconsider it.”

        The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the region's largest business group, has not supported the bill.

        The chamber is concerned the region will lose millions of federal highway dollars if the General Assembly eliminates mandatory vehicle tailpipe testing.

        The EPA has warned that if the tests are halted, the federal government would not allocate millions of dollars. No figure has ever been cited.


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