EPA could order vehicle inspections here, Upton says

Published 2:20 am Tuesday, January 13, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- On Monday, Congressman Fred Upton said the Environmental Protection Agency has confirmed that our county is not in compliance with current clean air standards and that could mean mandatory pollution testing of all vehicles.
The EPA has found that a number of counties in Michigan will be considered as non-attainment counties, which means they have exceeded the allowable ozone levels.
Upton said Berrien, Cass, Van Buren, Kalamazoo, Allegan, Ottawa, Kent, Muskegon and Benzie were some of the counties that were named non-attainment.
Upton said the transient air from cities like Chicago, Gary, Ind., and Milwaukee is the reason that our area is at a non-attainment level.
Upton pointed to Benzie County as an example of how we are being affected by the transient air of larger industrial cities.
Upton said if we become a non-attainment county, the state will begin to do things to bring us into attainment.
This means when you go to get your license plate renewed, you will also have to have your car inspected for pollution levels.
At an average of around $50 per car, Upton sees this requirement as a solution that will not fix the problem.
Upton said the sanctions will kick in on April 1, but due to a provision to the energy bill added by Upton, Southwestern Michigan's sanctions may get delayed.
Upton's provision would require the EPA to do a study on transient air and if the bill passes, it would protect us from sanctions until the study is done.
Upton said the energy bill, which includes the Upton provision, has already been passed by the House and is awaiting for approval from the Senate and the President.
He thinks Howard Dean will win the Democratic nomination with Wesley Clark having an outside shot.