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Parson won’t end emissions tests in St. Louis suburbs

July 9, 2021 GMT

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Gov. Mike Parson pumped the brakes Friday on legislation that would have ended a vehicle emissions testing program in counties surrounding St. Louis.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Parson cited the potential loss of $52 million in federal funding when he vetoed the legislation. It called for excluding Franklin, Jefferson and St. Charles counties from vehicle emissions inspections that are mandated by the federal Clean Air Act.

Supporters of the plan said the testing is unpopular in the suburban areas they represent and should be jettisoned.

But doing so would have put the state out of compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency, which said in a May letter to the Republican governor that it would strip money that helps build roads and bridges if the state eliminated the inspections.

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Because of high ozone levels, the St. Louis region is the only area in Missouri where emissions testing is required.

Currently, 30 states and Washington, D.C., require emissions tests in at least some areas, while 17 states require regular safety inspections. Thirteen states require no inspections.

In his veto message, Parson said the Department of Natural Resources has already submitted a plan to the EPA requesting the removal of Franklin and Jefferson counties from the testing program.