Vehicle emissions testing will end in five Middle Tennessee counties next year

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Posted at 6:38 PM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 20:03:52-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — Five Middle Tennessee counties are getting rid of emissions testing according to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC).

The Tennessee General Assembly passed a bill in 2018 that eliminated vehicle emissions testing in the state 120 calendar days following EPA approval. In February 2020, the state submitted to EPA its revision to the state’s air quality plan requesting removal of the vehicle emissions testing program

This week, Commissioner David Salyers with TDEC announced that vehicle emissions testing in five Tennessee counties will end on January 14, 2022.

This comes now that the Environmental Protection Agency has approved a revision to the state’s air quality plan.

"The emissions testing requirement, it’s just no longer necessary in Tennessee, to, to achieve national air quality standards," said Salyers. "And several years back we were required to implement a program that included several counties In particular, in Middle Tennessee; and that program had been viewed by many as a burden to hardworking Tennesseans that can least afford it."

The EPA determined that the removal of vehicle emissions testing in Tennessee is consistent with the federal Clean Air Act and all applicable regulations.

The following counties will not require emissions testing in 2022:

  • Hamilton
  • Rutherford
  • Sumner
  • Williamson
  • Wilson

State law provides an option for local agencies with their own air pollution control program to continue vehicle emissions testing.

Davidson County and Metro Nashville council members voted to continue vehicle emissions testing in 2018.

"We essentially were enjoying the cleanest air in decades in our state. And, you know, I feel like EPA’s approval of our requests validates that we no longer needed vehicle emissions testing to maintain compliance with federal air quality standards," said Salyers.

The approval becomes effective on Sept. 16, 2021, 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Tennessee law states the elimination of vehicle emissions testing is effective 120 days following EPA’s approval. Therefore, the effective end date of the program is Jan. 14, 2022.

In counties where vehicle emissions testing is ending, persons registering their vehicles on or before Jan. 13, 2022, will still be required to get the vehicle emissions test. Residents in those counties who register after Jan. 13, 2022, will not have to undergo vehicle emissions testing.