Thursday, February 24, 2005
The state is proposing to extend E-Check in seven northeast Ohio counties for two more years.
COLUMBUS -- A northeast Ohio lawmaker is vowing to bring legislation soon to end the extension of E-Check, the controversial auto emissions testing program.
"I'm going to fight 'em with everything I got," state Sen. Timothy J. Grendell, a Chesterland Republican and longtime foe of the testing program, said this week.
Grendell's ire was raised after the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency said the state is proposing to extend E-Check in seven northeast Ohio counties for two more years to meet federal requirements to clean up the air.
At the same time, the state will also recommend ending the program in the Cincinnati and Dayton areas and will ask state lawmakers to replace it with other testing controls such as allowing less industrial pollution or requiring cleaner-burning gasoline, the Ohio EPA said.
Expires at year's end
"We have thoroughly analyzed the E-Check program and concluded that we can, and should, end it in Dayton and Cincinnati," Ohio EPA Director Joe Koncelik said in a prepared statement. "We don't have that flexibility in the Cleveland area."
E-Check, which affects Cuyahoga, Lorain, Lake, Geauga, Medina, Summit and Portage Counties in northeast Ohio, expires at year's end.
E-Check testing requires evaluation of a motor vehicle's emissions while it is accelerated to near highway speeds.
The counties that could see an end to E-Check under the Ohio EPA proposal are Hamilton, Butler, Clermont, Warren, Montgomery, Greene and Clark.
Any extension of E-Check would require state legislative approval and ending the program requires federal approval.
Grendell, who has brought legislation in the past critical of E-Check, said his soon-to-be-introduced measure would prohibit E-Check from being extended and would require the state to find other ways to comply with federal air-pollution regulations.
Currently, motor vehicles two years old and newer are exempt from the auto-emissions testing. State environmental regulators are proposing to exempt motor vehicles four years old and newer, the Ohio EPA said.