Why haven’t emissions tests ended yet?

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CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – If you are confused about the Tennessee laws on emissions testing, you aren’t the only one.

The state legislature passed a law this year that will likely free Hamilton county residents from having to get their cars checked, but there are some drawbacks.

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Representative Mike Carter of Chattanooga was a key player in the bill abolishing emissions testing for our area.

“It’s the most regressive governmental program I’ve ever seen. This just absolutely is devastating to the poor, and to the working people.”

He says different communities have found ways around it.

Some of their plans to stay in compliance sound simplistic.

“My example of that is last year in Memphis, they applied and shut theirs down – it’s now closed, and they did nothing to replace it.”

And Knoxville never had emissions check stations because it just lowered the speed limit for 18-wheelers traveling through the city.

“This is a program that has served it’s purpose, it’s done exactly what it was designed to do and we’ve succeeded. Now that government has instituted a program that’s succeeded, why wouldn’t we shut it down? Why should we let the bureaucracy continue to run something that is unneeded?”

Testing is still underway in Hamilton county, but a federal agency may be involved before its over.

“Well the legislation has passed and what it requires is the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to under the contract with the Federal Government, cease all emissions programs in Tennessee except for Davidson County. Davidson County last week voted to stay in the program.”

Carter says its not unusual for many residents who can’t afford to repair their cars and pass the emissions test to just skip renewing their tags.

On the question of when Hamilton county might meet those guidelines and drop the testing, Carter says it may be another year.