House Oks Tougher Emissions Tests

By Terry Ganey Post-Dispatch Jefferson City Bureau Chief | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), May 13, 1994 | Go to article overview

House Oks Tougher Emissions Tests


Terry Ganey Post-Dispatch Jefferson City Bureau Chief, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


With Gov. Mel Carnahan lobbying from the sidelines, the House approved Thursday tougher auto-emission inspections for the St. Louis area.

"This is one of those hard votes for the people, but one that needed to be made," Carnahan said.

Because the House plan differed from one already approved by the Senate, negotiators from both chambers will work today to come up with a compromise. Sponsors hoped that a version that will appease federal regulators could be written and passed before the 6 p.m. adjournment.

Carnahan encouraged lawmakers to pass the inspection program, fearing Missouri would lose jobs if the federal government imposed sanctions on the state because of St. Louis air quality. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the state to cut pollutants by 15 percent in the St. Louis area. About half of that 50-ton reduction would come from the tougher auto-emission inspections.

Rep. Sheila Lumpe, D-University City, steered the politically unpopular bill through the House. A key vote came when Rep. Steve Carroll, D-Hannibal, attempted to delay the start of the tougher inspections until after a state challenge of the program was resolved in court.

That could take years, Lumpe said, and in the meantime the state could lose millions of dollars under federal sanctions.

"I believe the sanctions are real, and I'm not willing to call the bluff of the federal government, and risk shutting down the economic engine of this state," Lumpe said.

The sanctions include a limit on industrial growth and the potential loss of federal highway construction funds. Before the vote, the plant managers of the Ford plant in Wentzville, the Chrysler plant in Fenton and the General Motors plant in Hazelwood had written Carnahan to encourage passage.

They feared the sanctions' "two-for-one" setoff would curtail the planned expansions of the auto plants. …

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