HARRISBURG – The State Senate today passed a resolution sponsored by Sen. Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35) directing a Senate commission to review removing Cambria County from vehicle emissions testing requirements.
Langerholc said passage of the measure by the full Senate is an important step in determining if the 14-year-old requirement, which costs motorists on average $40, is still necessary, given the fact that the region has been consistently meeting air quality standards.
Cambria County is one of 25 Pennsylvania counties where vehicles are required to undergo emissions testing as part of annual safety inspections – many of them are in heavily populated areas near Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
Senate Resolution 168, which now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration, directs the Joint State Government Commission to perform a detailed study of the potential impact of removing Cambria County from the emissions testing requirement.
The testing requirement was first implemented in 1997 and expanded to include Cambria County in 2003. However, Langerholc noted that it was based on air quality data from the 1990s. Local air quality has steadily improved since that time, leading Cambria County to be designated as an attainment area in 2008.
“The emissions testing requirement made sense 20 years ago to ensure the worst-polluting vehicles were removed from our roadways, but advances in vehicle emissions technology have helped to ease many local concerns regarding air quality,” Langerholc said. “For nearly a decade our region has met federal air quality standards, so it makes sense for local motorists to no longer have to pay for testing that may not be necessary.”
“To remove the emissions testing requirement,” Langerholc said, “the state Department of Environmental Protection is required to submit a revised State Implementation Plan (SIP) to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.”
Langerholc’s resolution includes a requirement for the Joint State Government Commission to provide recommendations for lawmakers regarding the cost of submitting a revised SIP and any potential loss of environmental credits or other financial impacts resulting from the removal of the emissions requirement from Cambria County residents.
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