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Monday, March 31, 2008

KMPO weighs in on proposed emission testing

On Friday afternoon, KMPO was made aware of new automobile emission control legislation that is sitting on the governor's desk awaiting his signature. The bill is HB586, and would require Kootenai County to establish an automobile emission inspection and maintenance program. After reviewing the legislation and weighing the potential impacts KMPO responded to the Governor's office with many concerns.

First of all, Kootenai County is not in danger of violating any air quality standards in the immediate future. In fact, this new legislation is designed to prevent a metropolitan area from falling into non-attainment of the Clean Air Act. It is our understanding that the bill was written primarily to prevent Ada County from falling into non-attainment.

Whether it was intentional or non-intentional, the threshold for creating a regulatory inspection and maintenance program was established for counties that are at or above 85% of the ozone standard established recently by EPA. Kootenai County is currently around 89% of the federal standard.

Having researched the issue, KMPO is certain that our county could significantly reduce ozone emissions through voluntary programs that address the evaporative sources of ozone building compounds. This can be done much cheaper than establishing a regulatory inspection and maintenance program, and we wouldn't have to begin revoking car registrations at a significant cost to the county. You can read the letter we sent to the governor here.

If you are interested in contacting the Governors office you can call his local office at 292-2521, or his Boise office at 208-334-2100.

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