EPA clouds the air with vehicle tests

Because they are made by people with the most knowledge of area problems and potentials, state and local government decisions are better than those of the federal government, which can handle only “one size fits all” solutions.

That’s become such a cliche that people don’t even pay attention to it anymore. But every time it has a chance to prove otherwise, Washington steps up to the plate and demonstrates why the cliche became a cliche.

Its latest victim is northwest Indiana, which is under an Environmental Protection Agency edict so outrageous it even has State Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, agreeing with President Trump “when he says he wants to get rid of the stringency of all these regulations.”

Lake and Porter counties are under a mandatory EPA vehicle emissions testing plan that drivers hate because of the cost, inconvenience and intrusion into their liberty. Residents must submit to BMV-administered vehicle emissions tests every other year for passenger vehicles that are 4 years old or older.

The goal is to reduce the amount of ozone in the air, a pollutant that can cause breathing difficulties for children, the elderly and individuals with lung disease.

But the air in northwest Indiana meets both the 2008 as well as the more stringent 2015 federal standards for ozone, so it should be able to get the feds to lift the testing, which is applied to no other county in Indiana.

The problem is that those counties are lumped into a “nonattainment area” with northeastern Illinois, including Chicago, and southeastern Wisconsin. And what the federal government joins together, it does not like to break apart. Also, it is not federal policy to backtrack on regulations, whatever the evidence says.

Some Hoosier lawmakers have suggested simply stopping the testing to let the feds know how upset everybody is. But if that happens, Washington could withhold crucial transportation funding for roads and mass transit projects and even take over the state’s anti-pollution programs.

Yes, that’s blackmail. Yes, that’s extortion. Welcome to modern politics.

Rep. Brown is right that Trump is right. So we hope he is among those urging the president to press forward in his efforts to tame the federal government and humble the arrogant bureaucrats.

Yeah, you’re right. Wishful thinking.

This was distributed by Hoosier State Press Association. Send comments to awoods@tribtown.com.