Presnell has championed the cause since at least last year’s legislative sessions, when she called such testing a “sham” that cost Haywood residents more than $1 million in inspection fees alone.
It wouldn’t exactly be accurate to call the Canary Coalition’s Avram Friedman an ally of Presnell’s on this issue, but back in April he told The Smoky Mountain News that auto emissions are no longer a major source of pollution, and that his air-quality watchdog group had bigger fish to fry, citing coal-fueled power plants upwind in Tennessee as a bigger threat to the area.
“It’s something we don’t agree with and we may make a statement about it but it is probably not worth the expenditure of our limited resources to fight,” he said at the time.
But Haywood residents shouldn’t be quick to spend the $30 they’d earmarked for their impending emissions tests; the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality must submit a plan to the U.S. EPA before October. Approval could take up to 60 days beyond that, at which time inspections would no longer be required.
Rutherford and Henderson counties will also receive a testing reprieve, but in larger counties like Mecklenburg and Buncombe, the requirement will remain.