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Vehicle emissions

A Valparaiso auto emissions testing facility is seen in this 2009 file photo.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Senate agrees with the House that residents of Lake and Porter counties no longer should be required to have their vehicle emissions tested every other year.

House Bill 1491, which passed 48-0 Thursday, requests a legislative study committee this summer identify ways for the state to eliminate the Northwest Indiana testing mandate and still remain under federal pollution limits.

State Sen. Rick Niemeyer, R-Lowell, got the testing alternatives study inserted in the legislation Tuesday after the identical House Bill 1317 failed to get a committee hearing in the Senate, despite passing the House 93-0 in February.

Niemeyer said the air quality in Lake and Porter counties has met federal standards for many years.

But because the federal government considers the Region to be part of noncompliant Chicago for pollution purposes, he said Northwest Indiana residents are subject to vehicle testing that no other Hoosiers have to deal with.

"We're just trying to get some help here and get out of that," Niemeyer said. "(Testing) is a $10 million appropriation in the two-year budget and we have to provide the money for that."

The House and Senate leaders of both political parties next month will decide whether to go forward with the study of emission testing alternatives.

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Dan is Statehouse Bureau Chief for The Times. Since 2009, he's reported on Indiana government and politics — and how both impact the Region — from the state capital in Indianapolis. He originally is from Orland Park, Ill.