Colorado may end Denver tailpipe testing

December 14, 2005

Colorado's top air pollution official wants the state Air Quality Control Commission to consider eliminating Denver's 10-year-old tailpipe testing program.

If the program isn't killed, the director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Doug Benevento, suggests increasing the number of model-year exemptions or relying more on remote sensing devices, the Denver Post reported Wednesday.

Benevento notes the state has already deployed vans equipped with infrared and laser sensors to detect polluting cars, and with better automobile technology and cleaner-burning fuel, the emissions inspections might no longer be needed to protect air quality in the seven-county Denver region.

"At $26 million a year, this is a very expensive program," Benevento said. "It's time to ask ourselves whether we are seeing the kind of gain in air quality to justify this expense."

During the 1970s, Denver had the worst carbon monoxide in the nation, according to state officials. After repeatedly violating national air quality guidelines, the state enacted tailpipe-emissions testing in the early 1980s.

The Denver area is now in compliance with federal standards for fine-particle pollution, carbon monoxide and ozone, the Post reported.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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