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Colorado May Terminate Emissions Tests in Denver Area by 2006

December 15, 2005

Doug Benevento, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said that he, along with Gov. Bill Owens, expect the eradication of vehicle emission tests in the Denver area by the end of next year, according to the Rocky Mountain News.Ending the program would mean an end to biennial trips to local emission testing centers where Colorado vehicle owners pay $25 apiece to test their vehicles, which totals an estimated $26 million annually when required repairs are included.Benevento announced his desire to shed the program in a letter to the chairman of the Air Quality Control Commission, a nine-member board that adopts air pollution regulations. To justify his proposal, Benevento cites increasingly cleaner cars mixing into the region’s estimated vehicle fleet of 2.4 million, cleaner-burning fuels and big drops in carbon monoxide and particulate pollution that the emission tests were designed to reduce.In addition, the program had frustrated many because only five percent to six percent of the vehicles tested actually failed the test. Benenvento asked the chairman to take the reins in overseeing the analysis and computer modeling necessary to ensure the program can be cut without jeopardizing existing air quality, so that the proposal would appease both the Colorado legislature and the Environmental Protection Agency.Testing was adopted in Denver following abysmal carbon monoxide levels in the 1970s and ‘80s. The Denver region could follow the lead of three other areas in the state that were allowed to drop a less rigorous version of the emission tests by the end of next year.
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