CLEVELAND (WJW) – If your car is more than four years old, you have most likely had to get an E-Check every other year to renew your registration.
A group of bipartisan state lawmakers say the air in Cleveland is cleaner and they want the Ohio and U.S. Environmental Protection Agencies to eliminate E-Check in Northeast Ohio.
The lawmakers, led by state representative Bill Roemer, a Republican from Richfield, have been trying for several years to get rid of the E-Check program in Northeast Ohio — in effect since 1996.
So far, they haven’t been successful, and according to a recent letter from the Ohio EPA, they still have a tough hill to climb, but Roemer says they are going to keep trying.
Only seven of Ohio’s 88 counties are required to have car owners get emissions testing for vehicles four years and older — all in Northeast Ohio.
They include Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage and Summit.
“We have almost 2 million cars in the seven-county area and they get ‘E-Checked’ every other year, and for them to go get their E-Checks and sit in line, it wastes millions of hours of time of our constituents,” said Roemer.
After failing to get legislation through Columbus, Roemer gathered a bipartisan coalition and wrote a letter to the Ohio EPA, asking them to do away with E-Check in Northeast Ohio.
“I saw a study by a Swiss firm, it’s IQAir that said, actually, the air in Columbus is the dirtiest in the country for particulate matter,” Roemer said.
The Ohio EPA responded to Roemer, stating they contacted IQAir, but the company refused to provide them any data to prove his point.
“When I saw that the air quality in Northeast Ohio is vastly superior than, at least particulate matter, to Columbus, it’s just to me… it’s fairness,” he said.
The Ohio EPA also stated, “while the air quality has improved in Northeast Ohio in the last 30 years, the area does not meet the current health-based standard for ozone.”
It states the U.S. EPA has classified our area as “moderate” and the Cleveland area continues to violate the 2015 ozone air quality standard.
“It turns out that everyone that they measure is worse in other places in Ohio than in Northeast Ohio,” Roemer said. “Still our residents, our drivers in Northeast Ohio continue to be punished since 1996.”
The Ohio EPA letter also states, “U.S. EPA is likely to elevate its classification to ‘serious’ non -attainment, which will require additional restrictions along with the E-Check program, beginning as soon as 2024.”
“We’ve seen a decline in auto production, we’ve seen a decline in steel mills, so there is a lot of less pollution coming from these sources,” said Roemer.
Roemer says he worked with U.S. Congressman David Joyce and tried to get the federal officials to have cars tested after they were six years old, as opposed to four. That idea was shot down too.
Roemer says E-Check is the second biggest complaint he receives from his constituents in Summit County, second to property taxes.
If your car is over 25 years old, you are not required to get an E-Check.