The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
In their Tuesday night meeting, Metro Council members voted unanimously to put a stop to vehicle emissions testing in Nashville.
Council members set an official ending date of February 4, giving the Metro Public Health Department 30 days to end their contract with the testing company.
Back in August, the state received communication from the EPA that gave them authorization to end the testing program. Hamilton, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson Counties are also ending programs with a stop date of January 14.
Residents who have tags that expire prior to February 4 will receive guidance from the Davidson County Clerk’s office. At this time, Council members are recommending that those who register in January plan to still have the testing done.
Those in favor of the program’s cancellation say it is ineffective and was made even more difficult because of a lack of adequate staffing and an extremely long wait time.
“I think it’s the right time for us to end this program,” said Metro Council Member Kevin Rhoten. “We have cleaner vehicles and not requiring folks to sit in line to do this, I think it’s the right time.”
Rhoten filed the resolution to stop emissions testing back in November. The Council opted to move the vote to January to allow emissions companies time to prepare their employees.
Hugh Atkins, Bureau Director for Environmental Health Services for Metro Public House, spoke to the Council before the vote, stating that it did not have as many benefits as it did in the 80s and 90s, but he still believes it is beneficial.
“It’s not as critical as it once was, certainly,” said Atkins. “That is dependent on people maintaining their cars the way they’re supposed to and emissions capability working the way it’s supposed to and that’s one of the things you got from emissions testing.”
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Nashville Mayor John Cooper has noted that he is in support of putting an end to the program.
“Council votes tonight on a resolution to eliminate vehicle emissions testing in Davidson County,” the mayor wrote prior to the meeting. “Vehicle testing was once key to maintaining our quality air resources, but it’s become less effective and more inefficient in recent years. With long waits and other burdens on working people, the current process is failing short. Looking forward to working with Council on an opportunity to find a better way to protect our air quality.”
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Directory for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com