Cooper: Carter's pragmatic thinking helped lead to end of emissions testing program in Hamilton County

Staff File Photo / A line of cars waits outside the Riverfront Parkway auto emissions testing facility several years ago.

The move to eliminate vehicle emissions testing in Tennessee was not something the late state Rep. Mike Carter did without much thought.

He ultimately would be taking on entrenched bureaucrats in the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), individuals to whom "compromise" is a fighting word.

Carter also would be wrestling with other officials, agencies and organizations who would undoubtedly have trouble seeing a middle ground where it came to air pollution from automobiles.

But, as with so many other conundrums he encountered, he took a pragmatic approach to the issue: Who benefited and who got hurt the most?

On Tuesday, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) announced that vehicle emissions testing in five Tennessee counties would end Jan. 14, 2022, since the EPA has approved a revision to the state's air quality plan.