SALT LAKE CITY — Utah County may join the ranks of other counties along the Wasatch Front by instituting a diesel emissions testing program for certain vehicles.
House members voted Friday 56-15 to approve HB101 by Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, and send it onto the Senate for consideration.
The measure, which Arent ran last year, apparently was more palatable for some lawmakers because it is a three-year pilot project required to produce failure and compliance rates among tested vehicles.
"This is a start," said Majority Whip Francis Gibson, R-Mapleton. "My finger will painfully vote for this bill."
Gibson and other quasi-critics worried about taking away local control and superseding the wishes of the three-member Utah County Commission, two of whom are not yet on board with the program.
At the same time, Gibson conceded that poor air quality impacts business and industry, and something needs to be done.
Arent told her colleagues that similar emissions testing in programs like Weber County found noncompliance rates that were significant, nearly 19 percent. Of those that failed, 38 percent of the vehicles had been tampered with.
Those types of findings are critical, she added, since diesel vehicles can emit pollutants up to 21 times greater than their counterparts.
The program would run from Jan. 1, 2019, to Dec. 31, 2021, and require reports to the Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee assessing its effectiveness. It only affects model years 2007 and after and those vehicles 14,000 pounds or less.
Rep. Keven Stratton, R-Orem, said Arent's measure is a good bill that "we should get behind."