A statewide commission has issued a report which shows that Cambria County should be considered for removal from costly vehicle emissions testing requirements, according to Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35), who has been fighting hard to ensure that area residents and businesses do not have to comply with the unnecessary mandate.
Langerholc said the Joint State Government Commission (JSGC) listed Cambria County as one of seven top counties that could be removed from the emissions inspection program with little or no environmental impact in its revised report, issued on January 25. The original report was issued in October.
“This is a huge victory in our ongoing efforts to ensure that taxpayers and businesses are not saddled with a costly mandate that may no longer be necessary and makes no sense, based on current air quality standards,” Langerholc said. “The report confirms what we have been saying all along – that Cambria County can easily be removed without any significant environmental impact.”
Last year, Langerholc sponsored Senate Resolution 168, which directed the JSGC to perform a detailed study of the potential impact of removing Cambria County from vehicle emission testing requirements. Initially, the JSCG did not provide a clear answer to that question. However, Langerholc pressed for more definitive data and answers to questions in the resolution, and the commission found in its January report that Cambria County could be removed.
Langerholc said that data provides even more evidence that the 14-year-old requirement, which costs motorists on average $43, is no longer necessary, given the fact that the region has been consistently meeting air quality standards.
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.
“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 costly and unnecessary testing that may be necessary in more urban areas of the state,” Langerholc said.
To remove the emissions testing requirement the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is required to submit a revised State Implementation Plan (SIP) to the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Langerholc believes the JSGC Report provides the data necessary for the DEP to make that change.
“It is clear from the information in this report that Cambria County is one of the top counties to be removed from this requirement,” Langerholc said. “The cost to small businesses to pay for the testing equipment is very high, the cost to motorists is high, and the environmental impact is almost nonexistent. It simply makes no sense to impose this burden on area residents. I won’t stop fighting to have Cambria County removed.”
CONTACT: Gwenn Dando (717) 787-5400