St. Charles County is a step closer to eliminating emissions testing for county automobile owners. The Missouri Air Conservation Commission (MACC) Thursday voted to redesignate the St. Louis Metro area from a non-attainment to attainment area and approved the state’s maintenance plan for continued compliance.
St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann met with Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) staff and provided testimony on behalf of this effort. The East-West Gateway Council of Governments (EWGCOG) Board of Directors, of which Ehlmann is a member, has expressed its strong support of the redesignation as well. Ehlmann is hopeful for EPA approval, but has not been given a definite timeframe when that might occur.
“We’ve been waiting for this redesignation and are grateful to the MACC for its decision,” Ehlmann says. “Our clean air monitors are, and have been, in compliance with the 2015 ozone standard, and the MDNR has met all the EPA requirements in the federal Clean Air Act. Our residents need to be free of this unnecessary expense.”
Emissions testing resulted from a program established in 1984 by the state to meet EPA national air quality standards. In Missouri, residents living in nonattainment areas are required to get emissions testing to license their vehicles.
The next step is for the EPA to approve both the attainment status and the maintenance plan in order for the state to move forward on eliminating the vehicle emissions testing requirement for residents in the St. Louis area.
“This has been a long process and it’s not over yet,” Ehlmann says, “but we continue to bring it to the forefront of those who make the decisions.”