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news release

P.O. Box 004
Trenton, NJ
08625
Contact: Pete McDonough/Jayne O'Connor
609-777-2600

RELEASE: January XX, 2000

Office of the Governor

Whitman Urges EPA Assistance
with Inspections, Warns Parsons


NJ Gov. Christie Whitman announced today that she has called upon the US Environmental Protection Agency to work with the state to provide immediate relief for motorists who are suffering through extensive inspection station lines. The Governor said she would seek flexibility from the EPA to give the Parsons Infrastructure Group a short amount of time to correct the flaws in the current system and reiterated that she will hold Parsons to the letter and the spirit of its contract with the state.

"I have spoken to US EPA Administrator Carol Browner and have begun a discussion about ways that the current procedures could be temporarily modified. The fact is that the federal government has mandated a very complex and involved system whose implementation has created an enormous burden on New Jersey motorists," the Governor said.

"The Administrator, the regional office and I all recognize that the current system must be repaired if we are going to maintain public support for programs to ensure healthy air quality. We will continue to work together for clean air in New Jersey.

"We share a belief that reasonable and responsible auto emission standards are a critical part of improving air quality. We also agree that imposing an overly burdensome system on New Jersey drivers will undermine public confidence and support for reasonable standards," Gov. Whitman said.

"The lone bidder for the contract to operate the federally- mandated system has, thus far, performed dismally. Notwithstanding repeated assurances to the contrary, the contractor has seriously underestimated its own need for manpower and has experienced practical and technological glitches all of which could have been anticipated," Gov. Whitman said.

"Despite the contractor's failings to date, I do believe that Parsons Infrastructure is committed to making the system work. I am willing to work with the EPA to find the flexibility needed to give Parsons a short amount of time to get its act together," she said.

"As I have said in the past, I fully intend to hold Parsons to both the letter and spirit of our agreement. Nothing less will be acceptable to me," she added.

 
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