At a public hearing in Pittsburgh today before the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35) urged officials to remove Cambria County from unnecessary testing standards, citing the county’s long history of meeting federal emissions standards.
Langerholc provided testimony as part of DEP’s upcoming revisions to PA’s State Implementation Plan (SIP) for complying with the federal Clean Air Act. These revisions were required as a result of a federal court case and are intended to ensure that Pennsylvania continues to meet federal emissions standards.
Langerholc has repeatedly urged DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell to remove the county from the vehicle emissions testing program, also referred to as the Vehicle Emissions Inspection and Maintenance (I/M) program, because it has consistently met air quality levels and meets national standards.
“In 2007, Cambria County was redesignated to attainment levels, where it has remained for over 12 years. In fact, your own documents indicate that concentrations are expected to remain below this level over the next decade,” Langerholc said. “It is time to revise the SIP to remove Cambria County from these onerous requirements. And, contrary to correspondence from your department, Cambria County can be removed pursuant to all applicable law.”
Earlier this session he sponsored Senate Bill 744, which would remove Cambria and six other counties from testing requirements based on empirical evidence cited by the Joint State Government Commission.
In 2017, he also sponsored Senate Resolution 168, which directed the commission to perform a detailed study of the potential impact of removing Cambria County from vehicle emissions testing requirements.
Langerholc said that data provides even more evidence that the requirement, which costs motorists on average $40, is no longer necessary, given the fact that the region has been consistently meeting air quality standards.
“Now is the time for DEP to take action,” Langerholc said. “It simply makes no sense to impose this burden on area residents. I won’t stop fighting until Cambria County is removed from this onerous mandate.”