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New EPA rules could trigger Indiana emission testing

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Drivers across Indiana could be required to have their vehicles undergo emissions testing if new federal Environmental Protection Agency rules set for release this summer are strict enough, a state environmental official said.

Keith Baugues, the assistant commissioner for air quality for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, said the statewide testing might be required if the EPA adopts the strictest new rules being considered for harmful air pollutants, such as ozone, The Times of Munster reported Friday.

The EPA announced in December it was delaying the new rules, drawing criticism from environmental groups.

IDEM spokesman Rob Elstro told The Associated Press on Friday that scenario was a "very outside possibility" and said there is a wide range of possible remedies, depending on how strict the EPA standards are.

He said emissions testing would more likely be considered on a county-by-county basis or in metropolitan areas. He said other possibilities could be tighter emissions for businesses and industries and initiatives to increase carpooling and use of public transportation.

"We tailor the regulations to specific areas, so what works for Indianapolis may not work for Elkhart," Elstro said.

Two counties are watching closely to see what the EPA decides.

Lake and Porter counties have not met air-quality standards for ozone for years and are the only counties in the state that currently require vehicle emissions checks.

Monitors last year showed both counties were below the standard for ozone, and IDEM has asked the EPA to redesignate the counties as attainment zones.

That process is under way, but if the new standards fall lower than the current emissions levels in those counties, both will remain in the nonattainment zone.

Baugues said the entire state could fall to nonattainment for ozone if the EPA chooses the strictest rules.

"We hope if anything the ozone standard would be at the top of that range rather than the bottom of the range," Baugues said.

Baugues says the EPA's decision will have a significant impact on business and the economy.

"That's really what's going to be driving our industry over the next couple of years, all these new standards and how we react to them," he said.

Nicole Kamins, executive director of Save the Dunes, said Baugues missed the point.

"While Save the Dunes understands the complexities and challenges businesses have in adhering to reduced air emissions levels set by U.S. EPA, the standards should be driven by public health as the primary consideration," Kamins said. "For example, if U.S. EPA lowers the ozone emissions level, there will be great benefits to the respiratory health of residents, particularly the elderly and children."

Brian Urbaszewski, director of environmental health programs with the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago, said he found it "extremely surprising and extremely disappointing" that health issues were not brought up by Baugues.

Elstro said Baugues didn't talk about health issues because he wasn't asked. He said Baugues said at the beginning of his talk that EPA sets the standards and uses health studies to set those.

"We are concerned about making sure we protect human health and we do that using these standards," Elstro said.

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  • car testing
    I see this as a way to force the poorer drivers off the roads and increase car sales for those who can afford to do so. Remember how corrupt the car inspection were
  • Bad Move
    With gas at $4 a gallon, we are NOW going to charge, what, $50 for an inspection "permit" and then $100 to do that inspection, in addition to excise on the plates? That should go over well in this economy. I wonder if the EPA and Al Gore get the proceeds from this farce. If we want to cut pollutants, let's start with the corporate jets first.

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  1. Now if he'd just stay there...

  2. Daniel - what about the many US citizens who do NOT follow what the Bible teaches? The Hindus, Jews, Muslims and others who are all American citizens entitled to all rights as Americans?? This issue has NOTHING to do with "What the Bible says..." Keep all Churches separate from State! Pence's ongoing idiocy continues to make Indiana look like a backwards, homophobic state in the eyes of our nation. Can't we move on to bigger issues - like educating our kids?

  3. 1. IBJ should link to the referenced report. We are in the age of electronic media...not sharing information is lazy. Here is a link http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Blue_Ribbon_Panel_Report_July_9_2014.pdf 2. The article should provide more clarity about the make-up of this panel. The commenters are making this item out to be partisan, it does not appear the panel is partisan. Here is a list of the panel which appears to be balanced with different SME to add different perspectives http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=138116?formation_id=189603 3. It suggests a by-pass, I do not see where this report suggests another "loop". 4. Henry, based on your kneejerk reaction, we would be better off if you moved to another state unless your post was meant as sarcasm in which case I say Well Done. 5. The article and report actually indicates need to improve rail and port infrastructure in direct contradiction to Shayla commentary. Specifically, recommendation is to consider passenger rail projects... 6. People have a voice with their elected officials. These are suggestions and do not represent "crony capitalism", etc. The report needs to be analyzed and the legislature can decide on priorities and spending. Don't like it, then vote in a new legislature but quit artificially creating issues where there are none! People need to sift through the politics and provide constructive criticism to the process rather than making uninformed comments in a public forum based on misinformation. IBJ should work harder to correct the record in these forums when blatant errors or misrepresentations are made.

  4. Joe ... Marriage is defined in the Bible ... it is mentioned in the Bible often. Marriage is not mentioned once in the US or Indiana Constitution ...

  5. Daniel - Educate me please: what does the Bible have to do with laws? If the government wasn't in the business of marriage to begin with, then it wouldn't have to "define" marriage at all. Marriage could be left as a personal, religious, or otherwise unregulated action, with no ties to taxes, legal status, etc. Then people could marry whomever they want, and all this silliness would go away. Remember to vote Libertarian in November.

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