Emissions tests

Jonathon Creutzburg prepares to test a motorist's vehicle in 2009 at the emissions testing facility in Valparaiso.

The Indiana Senate unanimously stands with Northwest Indiana on an important matter of regional equity, and the federal government should be taking note.

The state Senate recently approved a resolution demanding that the federal government nix unfair vehicle emissions testing for Lake and Porter county drivers.

Our contingent of federal lawmakers should be listening and pushing for compliance with the Indiana Senate's demands.

Specifically, the resolution asks that Lake and Porter counties be removed from the federal government's Chicago air quality monitoring zone, prompted by occasional poor air quality in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Sen. Rick Niemeyer, R-Lowell, sponsored the resolution, garnering an avalanche of support from the rest of the Senate.

Niemeyer rightly points out that vehicles owned by Northwest Indiana residents contribute just a fraction of the ozone produced in the Region.

Just think of the thousands of cars and trucks that travel daily through our Region via the Interstates versus local traffic.

Meanwhile, Lake and Porter county air quality monitors continue to improve, with the only offending levels remaining in Chicago, Niemeyer argues.

"We're victims of what's happening in the Chicago district, and it's totally unfair and too expensive," state Sen. Frank Mrvan, D-Hammond, said in support of the resolution.

Indiana spends about $5 million annually for vehicle emissions tests. The federal government contributes an additional $5 million on Region Clean Air Car Check stations.

Meanwhile, Region drivers spend an unknown amount on vehicle repairs if they are unable to pass emissions tests in the two counties.

It's an obligation not borne by drivers living in other parts of the state.

Fairness must be brought to bear on this issue, and the money tied up in unneeded Northwest Indiana vehicle emissions tests should be funneled to more pressing endeavors.

The federal government should end this unfair and archaic requirement without delay.

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Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Local News Editor Marc Chase, Lake County Editor Crista Zivanovic, Porter/LaPorte County Editor Doug Ross and Deputy Local Editor Erin Orr.