Metro Nashville Council unanimously voted Tuesday night to end emissions testing in Davidson County.
In August of 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency greenlit the ending of vehicle emissions testing programs by approving a revision to the state’s air quality plan, clearing the way for Metro Council to hold this vote.
The EPA determined the removal of emissions testing in Tennessee is consistent with the Clean Air Act and all other applicable regulations.
Emissions testing has been a requirement since 1984.
The sponsors of the original resolution to eliminate the vehicle inspection program made up more than a majority vote on the measure without any additional votes. The sponsors are councilmembers Kevin Rhoten, Freddie O’Connell, Dave Rosenberg, Mary Carolyn Roberts, Larry Hagar, Erin Evans, Russ Bradford, Delishia Porterfield, Thom Druffel, Sean Parker, Sharon Hurt, Joy Styles, Steve Glover, Robert Swope, Bob Nash, John Rutherford, Courtney Johnston, Ginny Welsch, Angie Henderson, Russ Pulley, Zach Young, Brandon Taylor, Kyonzte Toombs, Emily Benedict, and Zulfat Suara.
At the main council meeting, the Budget and Finance reported that it had voted 7-0 to recommend the resolution to the full council.
There was one minor hiccup, as it was discovered that the contract with the vendor that administers the emissions testing program needed 30 days notice, which meant the original sunset date of January 14 had to be changed before the main resolution to end emissions testing could be voted on.
In response, Councilmember Rhoten late-filed an amendment that incorporated the 30 days notice effective date into the original resolution and satisfied the legal requirement of the contract. Councilman Rhoten then moved to suspend the rules for a vote on the amendment which was, properly seconded without objection and passed unanimously.
After the amendment was incorporated into the main resolution, Rhoten discussed how vehicles run cleaner and more efficiently today than 40 years ago.
After the question was called and the discussion ended, the amended resolution passed by unanimous voice vote.
With this passage, the Metropolitan Department of Public Health is now directed to take whatever actions are required to eliminate the program, including furnishing the contracted private vendors that operate it with the proper notice. It was stated that Davidson County will give the required notice to the vendor tomorrow and the program will officially sunset at the end of those 30 days. Formal termination will occur on February 3rd.
Davidson County joins neighbors Wilson, Williamson, Sumner, Rutherford, and Hamilton counties in eliminating the program.
The inspection program consisted of an annual test that occurred around the time a car registration was to be renewed along with a $9.00 fee. Exceptions to the emissions program were: 1974 model or older vehicles, Antique vehicles, Electric vehicles, Motorcycles, New vehicles registering with a Manufacturer Statement of Origin (MSO), Trailers, and Vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating greater than 10,500 lbs.
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Aaron Gulbransen is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Vehicle Emissions” by Renwang101. CC BY-SA 4.0.