INDIANAPOLIS — State Sen. Rick Niemeyer, R-Lowell, believes motorists in Lake and Porter counties no longer should be required to submit to federally mandated vehicle emissions tests.
Since 1984, a biennial visit to the Clean Air Car Check station has been part of life for Region drivers, because Northwest Indiana’s air quality measurements are lumped in with Chicago and air pollution in Illinois’ largest city regularly exceeds federal standards.
Niemeyer contends Illinois pollution isn’t coming from the Region, and what vehicle-related pollution there is in Northwest Indiana is due to the thousands of out-of-state trucks daily passing through on the Borman Expressway and Interstate 65 — not locally owned cars.
“It’s really unfair to Lake County and Porter County residents to have to get their vehicles tested,” Niemeyer said. “We’re not the problem up there.”
The Indiana Senate agrees.
Lawmakers recently approved Senate Resolution 12 calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to revise or eliminate the requirement that Region motorists participate in a vehicle inspection and maintenance program.
The resolution notes the EPA is working on remote-sensing technologies that can more quickly and conveniently identify high-emitting vehicles on the roads, so testing every car no longer is needed.
Niemeyer said he hopes his resolution also prompts the EPA to take a second look at grouping Northwest Indiana with the rest of the state for air quality purposes, since no other Hoosiers are required to test their vehicle emissions.
He plans to ask Congress to override the agency if the EPA insists on continued emissions testing in the Region.