Coalition For Clean Air Formed
Announces Its Support For Enhanced Emissions Testing
Transportation Commissioner John J. Haley Jr. today announced that the state's new enhanced emissions testing program is supported by the Coalition For Clean Air, a cross-section of health-care, environmental, business and labor organizations.
Coalition members gathered to state their support of the program at a Hamilton Township, Mercer County, auto repair business that is among the first in New Jersey to buy the enhanced emissions testing equipment.
"Air pollution aggravates the respiratory illnesses that currently affect more than 1 million of New Jersey's residents," said Dr. Greg Sachs, president of the New Jersey Medical Society. "Our youngest residents and our senior citizens are most at risk. The efforts we are making to clean the air, such as the enhanced emissions testing program, will produce benefits for all of New Jersey's residents."
Joan Verplanck, president of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, said the enhanced emissions test will complement the actions that businesses are taking to improve air quality.
"A tailpipe is smaller than a factory smokestack, but in the air quality war it is as much the villain," Verplanck said. "In the last ten years industry has spent millions of dollars to install state of the art equipment to clean our air. The enhanced emissions system is so important because it complements this effort, targeting another significant source of pollution."
Haley noted that New Jersey was allowed to revise its vehicle inspection process because it is implementing the enhanced testing procedure.
"Better emissions testing is allowing the 5.8 million licensed drivers in New Jersey to have their vehicles inspected once every two years instead of every year, " Haley said. "Governor Whitman negotiated with the federal Environmental Protection Agency to have an emissions inspection program tailored to the needs of New Jersey and biennial inspection is one positive aspect resulting from her efforts."
The biennial inspection cycle is designed as a customer convenience to avoid long lines as the state's 35 inspection stations are converted to perform the enhanced emission test. The 2-year inspection cycle began on October 1 and will remain in place when the enhanced emissions program is fully implemented by December 1999.
New Jersey motorists also will continue to have the option of going to a state-licensed, privately-owned garage for inspection, under the state=s agreement with the EPA. More than 2,700 of the 3,700 licensed private inspection centers have applied to continue in operation and offer the enhanced emissions test.
Owners of private inspection centers have until March 31, 1999 to either have the enhanced emissions testing equipment installed or on order. The Division of Motor Vehicles hosted three equipment expos for the private inspection center owners this summer to give them the opportunity to see the hardware and speak with the equipment manufacturers.
"Motorists will continue to have a choice in where to get their vehicles inspected, under the enhanced emissions program," said C. Richard Kamin, DMV Director. "We're pleased that the majority of licensed private inspection centers have decided to continue in the program."
Jim Kenney, the owner of Automotive Specialists in Hamilton Township, is among the first private inspection centers to have the enhanced emissions equipment installed.
"The dynamometer is a tremendous diagnostic tool for us," Kenney said. "We can use it to take a car up to highway speeds to trouble-shoot without leaving the garage, in addition to using it for the enhanced emissions test."
"Over the past 10 years, New Jersey's air quality has improved by every measure. This past summer, New Jersey exceeded the federal regulatory standard for ozone just four times, compared to 45 exceedances in 1988. There has not been an exceedance of the carbon monoxide standard since January of 1995, "said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Shinn. "Nonetheless, we have a lot of work remaining before we meet all the standards for air quality. The enhanced inspection and maintenance system is a crucial step in meeting that goal."
New Jersey earlier this year began diesel emissions testing of heavy-duty trucks. Heavy-duty trucks registered in New Jersey are required to have a diesel emissions test conducted annually, while 10 teams conduct random roadside emissions tests on state-registered and out-of-state trucks. These roadside teams stopped more than 61,000 trucks between April and September and issued nearly 4,900 summonses to operators whose vehicles failed the emissions test.