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PA EPA ADDS GREATER FLEX. FOR VEHICLE SMOG CHECK PROGRAMS

Release Date: 7/12/96
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PA EPA ADDS GREATER FLEX. FOR VEHICLE SMOG CHECK PROGRAMS

FRIDAY, JULY 12, 1996

EPA ADDS GREATER FLEXIBILITY FOR VEHICLE SMOG CHECK

PROGRAMS IN OZONE TRANSPORT REGION

EPA has issued a supplemental final rule which revises the vehicle emissions inspection and maintenance (I/M) program by providing a special low-enhanced performance standard for certain areas in the Ozone Transport Region (OTR). The program will begin Jan. 1, 1999. The 1990 Clean Air Act created the Ozone Transport Commission to develop strategies to reduce persistent ozone problems throughout the region which includes 11 states from Maine to Virginia. Today's action applies only in OTR areas that currently meet the ozone air quality standard and those with ozone levels slightly above the standard which are classified as marginal or moderate and with populations under 200,000. These three types of areas would be exempt from I/M requirements if located elsewhere in the country, but the Act included them with the region that have serious and severe ozone pollution problems to help achieve overall regional compliance and maintenance of air quality standards. Today's final rule will provide greater flexibility to these regions by permitting a broader range of I/M programs. EPA said some states have an existing safety inspection program which could also include vehicle emission inspections. There are 25 metropolitan areas eligible for the special low enhanced performance standard. Most are located in upstate New York and Pennsylvania. Others areas are Portland, Maine; Burlington, Vt.; and Hagerstown, Md. EPA said states with counties that comprise less than one percent of the population of the metropolitan statistical area will be excluded from the program. Areas that take advantage of these OTR low-enhanced programs will have to add other measures, such as reformulated gasoline or equivalent stationary source controls, to achieve the emission reductions that would have occurred from a regular low-enhanced I/M program. The OTR low-enhanced performance standard program could include a combination of annual testing of cars and light trucks, on-board diagnostic checks, remote sensing, catalyst and PCV valve checks. EPA said it will not hold a public hearing on the rule unless a request is received in writing within one week from publication of the rule in the Federal Register.

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