Utah legislation targeting emission violations progresses

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Utah is getting closer to imposing tougher penalties for diesel emissions violations, including raising fines and requiring law enforcement to report violators to local health departments.

Utah’s House Transportation Committee recently passed House Bill 171 in a 6 to 1 vote which calls for raising emissions fines from $50 to $100 for first-time violators and $100 to $500 for second offenses. The bill also requires that law enforcement report violators to local health departments which in turn would work with vehicle owners to correct emissions violations.

“This bill represents a necessary change in emissions testing for Utah,” said House Representative Angela Romero (D), the bill’s sponsor. “It helps to reduce the dangerous threat that air particulates from diesel emissions pose to our health.”

An excerpt from the bill states:

86 (ii) A diesel engine manufactured on or after Jan. 1, 2008, may not emit visible
87     contaminants during operation:

88          (A) except while the engine is being warmed to the recommended operating
89     temperature or under a heavy tow; or
90          (B) unless the diesel engine is in a vehicle with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight
91     rating in excess of 26,000 lb.
92          (iii) A diesel engine manufactured before Jan. 1, 2008, may not emit visible
93     contaminants of a shade or density that obscures a contrasting background by more than 20 percent,
94     for more than five consecutive seconds:

95          (A) except while the engine is being warmed to the recommended operating
96     temperature or under a heavy tow; or
97          (B) unless the diesel engine is in a vehicle with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight
98     rating in excess of 26,000 lb.

The legislation applies to areas within the state that have yet to meet air quality standards. Referred to as non-attainment zones, the affected counties include the four Wasatch Front counties and Cache County, according to the Standard-Examiner.

House Bill 171 has now advanced to the house floor.

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