Tuesday, February 22, 2005

EPA Conversation

I e-mailed Michael Levitt, then director of the EPA, on January 16th, 2005. This was the e-mail I sent:


What is the EPA's stance on the pollution that commercial and state owned vehicles emit? Why are you letting SUV drivers get away with a loophole in the law that makes them light-trucks and not subject to emissions inspections? I would like to discuss this further at your convenience. I write a web log(blog) at
http://www.jovittore.blogspot.com . I would like all your comments to be on the record, but of course truthful and informative. This is a particular issue that has been bothering me for a while and I would like to get to the bottom of it.

Thank you for your time,
Jayson Ovittore

I did not expect a response at all since Mr. Levitt is now the director at Health and Human Services. I did, today, get a response from Merrylin Zaw-Mon Certification and Compliance Division, Office of Transportation and Air Quality. Here's what she had to say:

Mr. Jayson Ovittore

Dear Mr. Ovittore:

Thank you for your January 16 e-mail message to Administrator Leavitt. His office has forwarded it to our division for a response.

You asked for EPA’s stance on the pollution that commercial and state owned vehicles emit and why EPA is letting SUV drivers get away with a loophole in the law that makes them [sic] light-duty trucks and not subject to vehicle inspections.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shares your concerns that vehicles continue to be major contributors to the unhealthy air in our cities and rural areas.

EPA is now implementing a major “Tier 2" emission standards program to significantly reduce emissions from sport utility vehicles, minivans and pick up trucks. For the latest information on the issue of more stringent regulations, please visit this page on our Internet web site:
http://www.epa.gov/oms/tr2home.htm#Documents. This web site is updated periodically, so be sure to visit it frequently.

The EPA definition for light–duty trucks is based on the vehicle’s physical configuration. Vehicle manufacturer’s design their SUVs using these definitions to qualify them as light-duty trucks. These definitions are in the Code of Federal Regulations, so manufacturers are legally classifying their vehicles as light-duty trucks. We do ensure that any vehicle certified as a light-duty truck conforms to EPA’s definitions.

The vehicle inspection programs are operated by individual states and are not under the jurisdiction of EPA. You may want to put your light-duty truck inspection question to those states that have vehicle inspection programs.

You should be interested in our web site
www.epa.gov/otaq. One will find a wealth of information on emissions from mobile sources. The Green Vehicle Guide is especially helpful to individuals wanting to select the environmentally cleanest vehicle when making a purchase.

We thank you for your concerns about our air quality and thank you for taking the time to write.

Sincerely yours,

Merrylin Zaw-Mon, Director
Certification and Compliance Division
Office of Transportation and Air Quality

Check out the links, they are worth looking at. Maybe the EPA is headed in the right direction after all. Now all we have to do is get the states to enforce inspections. I'll keep you posted on my future conversations with the EPA.

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