Metro Council defers vote on ending emissions testing until January

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — On Tuesday night, Metro Council voted to defer their decision on ending emissions testing until January.

Last week, Metro Councilman Kevin Rhoten drafted a resolution that would end emissions testing in Davidson County for all residents for the first time since the 1980s. This comes after the EPA announced in August that the removal of all vehicle emissions testing in Tennessee is consistent with the federal Clean Air Act and all applicable regulations.

According to the resolution, technical analysis by the EPA concluded that Middle Tennessee will continue to comply with all National Ambient Air Quality Standards once vehicle emission testing is removed from Tennessee’s air quality plan.

Metro Councilman Steve Glover is one of 23 sponsors of the resolution to end emissions testing in Davidson County. He says he’s received many calls and emails from Nashville residents complaining about long lines at testing centers and wasted time.

“People are fed up with it. They’re done with it. They’re ready for this to be over with. I think that’s a pretty safe assessment for the majority of Nashvillians,” Glover said.

One person that’s fed up is Rachael Humphrey. When she moved from Louisville to Nashville a few years ago she had to get acquainted with the emissions testing process since it wasn’t required in her hometown.

“I know most of the times I’ve tried to go my car fails. So it’s a bit of a hassle for me because there’s always a check engine light or an issue that prevents me from just being able to simply make it an easy process,” Humphrey said. “I think a majority of people see it as just an extra burden during their time to get that completed when they’re just trying to get through their daily lives and routines anyways.”

But what exactly is an emissions test?

According to JiffyLube.com, emissions tests measure the level of pollutants — including hydrocarbons, oxygen, carbon monoxide, and oxides of nitrogen — present in vehicle exhaust. Most states require vehicle emissions testing to reduce air pollution.

Ozone is the number one culprit detected in these assessments.

According to the Metro Public Health Department Director of Air Pollution Control John Finke, the federal ozone standard is 70 parts per billion (PPB). Right now, Middle Tennessee is now testing at around 65 PPB, which makes Davidson County eligible to drop emissions testing.

“So we’re right there at the standard. Vehicle emission inspections going away will increase emissions. It will increase the pollution in the air. But we don’t know that it will increase it enough to cause a violation of the national ambient air quality standards. The modeling done by the state does not indicate that that will happen,” Finke said.

Several counties surrounding Davidson, including Hamilton, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson have already signed off on a January 14, 2022 end date for vehicle inspection.

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Metro Council will revisit the resolution at their meeting on January 4, 2022. If they pass it, emissions testing could end in Davidson County on January 28, 2022.

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