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Key Air Pollution Control Program To Begin in New Jersey; EPA Suspends Sanctions for Late Startup

Release Date: 12/08/1999
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(#99193) New York, New York -- New Jersey is taking an important step toward cleaner and healthier air with the startup of its enhanced vehicle inspection and maintenance program on December 13. This new air pollution control program is a critical piece of New Jersey's overall plan to reduce harmful air pollutants that cause smog. With New Jersey's enhanced inspection and maintenance program up and running, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can suspend the sanction imposed on the state in June 1999 and avoid the imposition of a second sanction for late implementation of the program. The program was originally scheduled to start operating in November 1997.

"The enhanced vehicle inspection and maintenance program is an essential element of New Jersey's program to cut smog and improve air quality in the state," said EPA Region 2 Administrator Jeanne M. Fox. "The benefits of the program will be felt throughout the region by ensuring that New Jersey residents are driving tuned up, properly maintained vehicles."

The state estimates that the enhanced inspection and maintenance program will cut emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by 45 tons per day and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 44.5 tons per day. VOCs and NOx combine in sunlight to form ground-level ozone, or smog, which is responsible for causing serious respiratory disorders, reducing lung capacity and aggravating asthma. Metropolitan areas in neighboring states with smog problems, including Pennsylvania and New York, have also implemented vehicle inspection programs.

The federal sanction assessed on New Jersey last summer for late implementation of the vehicle inspection program imposed emission requirements that have made it more difficult for major industrial facilities to start up or expand. A second sanction, scheduled to go into effect on December 13, 1999 if New Jersey failed to start up the inspection program, would have limited the state's ability to access federal highway funds. EPA will suspend and proposes to lift the first sanction and will stop the clock on the second sanction.

New Jersey's enhanced vehicle inspection and maintenance program relies on a new test that uses a treadmill, or dynamometer, to better reflect emissions during actual driving conditions. It uses sensors to analyze the tailpipe emissions of various pollutants while the car is running at a normal driving speed. While the new test may take longer to conduct, it will only be required every two years, rather than yearly as required in the past.

For more information contact:

Mary Mears, Press Office
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3669 FAX: 212-637-5046 E-Mail: mears.mary@epamail.epa.gov