Why The Idaho Legislature Seeks To End Treasure Valley Emissions Testing
A new senate bill introduced within the Idaho Legislature could effectively end Ada and Canyon Counties emissions testing. The bill would also eliminate the Ada County Air Quality Board. The program was mandated by EPA several years ago. The concern was over the high levels of carbon monoxide within the Treasure Valley, solved.
A exclusive look at how an emission test is conducted.
Those concerns are over, as the legislature's bill S1254 2022 would remove those lovely little emission huts and any regulation on the air within our area. Here is the definition of the huts and what they've been looking for for over thirty years.
An airshed, as defined by the department, within a metropolitan statistical area, as defined by the United States office of management and budget, has ambient concentration design values equal to or above eighty-five percent (85%) of a national ambient air quality standard, as defined by the United States environmental protection agency, for three (3) consecutive years starting with the 2005 design value; and
(b) The department determines air pollutants from motor vehicles constitute one (1) of the top two (2) emission sources contributing to the design value of eighty-five percent (85%).
The bill will have to be voted on in committee and, if approved, will go to the full Senate and then to the house. If both houses within the legislature approve the measure, it will then go to the governor's office for his signature. One factor that could derail the bill from passing is the view of big business. Several large employers value air quality as part of their mission statement. Will Idaho's major employers save emissions testing in an election year? We'll continue to update you as this story develops. You can read the whole bill here.
ACHD Commission Kent Goldthorpe responded to our request for a written reaction. Here are his thoughts unfiltered and uncensored:
"SB1254 is a mastery of pastry perfection. In lobbyist and legislature terms it was “baked”. That means all the ingredients were assembled, added together, the pan greased, cooked at the right temperature outside of the public eye, taken out of the oven at the right time and then served without the frosting of information and due diligence to the remainder of the legislature hoping to force feed it to them before anyone else got a taste of what it actually was.
In the case of S1254 the recipe should have included a look at how the “modeling” of particulate levels (in addition to just carbon monoxide) was put together. Why was it that whenever particulate levels spiked the “offending” pollution sensors were moved to “cleaner” areas. This very practice was admitted to in the November Air Quality Board meeting. You can watch that meeting at:
Just how every single Republican legislator in Ada County was convinced into signing on to this bill must’ve been a work of superb salesmanship. One of the sponsors of the bill was the Air Quality Board’s attorney when I was their Executive Director a few years ago. How much confidential information obtained by him while contracted to the Board went into the construction of this bill?
Why isn’t the Air Quality Board objecting to the way this bill is being presented? Why isn’t their handler, COMPASS, objecting to it as well? Why aren’t they asking questions about the modeling and how it was constructed in order to show continued and future attainment of Federal emission standards? Why is it so important to get the 2022 Federal maintenance plan report put together now in order to get it submitted much earlier than it ever has before. Is it that because to do it otherwise (there’s a submission window of a couple of weeks if I’m correct) would make the Treasure Valley subject to having particulate levels for ozone and other far more dangerous particulates than carbon monoxide, added to the particulate levels monitored in order to stay in attainment going forward?
One part of this process that is entirely consistent with our current legislature is that the bill also prevents ANY local governmental entity from continuing any emission testing program on their own. Small governments continue to reside primarily at the state level. Heaven forbid that any citizen actually be able to vote on continuing a program to ensure clean air.
Where is the concern for the future of great air quality in the Treasure Valley? Gone, apparently from the Ada and Canyon Republican members of the 2022 Idaho legislature."