Wednesday, June 16, 1999

Boone fights ozone testing

Academy review under way

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BURLINGTON — Boone County officials say they plan to fight mandatory emissions testing and have asked other Northern Kentucky counties to join them.

        By a unanimous vote, the fiscal court passed a resolution requesting a moratorium on emissions testing in Boone County pending completion of a review of the tests by the National Academy of Sciences.

        The academy began a review in January.

        “A lot of this emissions testing I've heard is based on bogus science,” Commissioner Robert Hay said. “There's significant information out there that says the (Environmental Protection Agency) is incorrect in thinking this test will help the air in Northern Kentucky.”

        The tests, which have been standard in Southwest Ohio for some time, come to Northern Kentucky counties Sept. 1.

        The Northern Kentucky testing program is mandated by the federal Clean Air Act, which requires tests to be taken once every two years before motorists can renew their vehicle registration.

        The program is designed to reduce ground-level ozone, commonly known as smog, which contributes to health problems such as chronic lung and heart diseases, allergies and asthma.

        The resolution will be sent to Kentucky's Congressional delegation.

        “We think it would be a shame to ask people to pay $20 for a test and it won't even work,” Mr. Hay said.

        Boone County Judge-executive Gary Moore said he believes the county is in compliance.

        “To put our citizens through that for only that type of minimal improvement is a bit much,” he said.

        Commissioners say they want answers before they make the tests a requirement of their citizens.

        “I believe we are owed an explanation as to why we're doing this,” Mr. Moore said.

        At this point, he said, the county will look into the severity of the penalty if Boone County does not comply.

        “We have to ask ourselves what the consequences are,” he said. “If they're severe enough, it may be something we have to do.

        “But before we rubber stamp this we want to make sure it is necessary and it's something we're required to do.”

        Traditionally, counties can lose federal funding if they do not comply.

        John Stanton, deputy county administrator, said a Louisville Courier Journal article recently cited statistics from Jefferson County's program.

        “They tested 40,000 vehicles that were less than 3years old and only 40 failed the emissions test,” he said.

        Mr. Moore also questioned the cost of the test because none of the money goes back to the county.

        “It's our county clerk that has to deal with these people and explain to them why they can't get their registrations,” he said.


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