Cache seeking public input on emissions programs

Cache County Council members are not backing down on their fight against implementing a vehicle emissions testing program. Tuesday night Bryce Bird, director of the Utah Division of Air Quality, said if the emissions program is not part of the document sent to the Environmental Protection Agency in December, another strategy will have to be proposed.

“But right now, again, it’s a proposed plan. The public comment period starts on October 1,” Bird said. “But if there are other strategies that meet those criteria, again being enforceable, creditable emissions reductions, those can certainly replace any of those on the list.

“We have already gone through that process, identified them, used all of our state resources to get to where we are at this point.”

Council members, along with County Executive Lynn Lemon, say the county should not be forced to have a $1.5 million to $2 million emissions testing program to reduce pollution from a half ton of precursors to PM 2.5 pollution on a typical winter day.

Not just Cache County but the whole state of Utah could lose highway funding if Cache County fails to  come up with a vehicle emissions testing program or other plan to reduce pollution on a typical winter day.

Councilmember Craig Peterson proposed that public comment be sought to help the county come up with alternatives.

Chief Deputy Cache County Attorney Don Linton went along with that idea.

“So paragraph G that I talked about said that the requirements for county emissions inspection and maintenance programs should only be established after obtaining an agreement from the counties affected by that requirement,” Linton said. “So the county is all these people that you represent out there, you’re asking them for their input. I think it’s absolutely appropriate.”

The council decided to seek public comment at its next meeting on October 9. Those unable to attend the meeting will be able to provide input by e-mail, telephone or by speaking to council members.

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