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CALIFORNIA SUBMITS REVISED PLAN FOR AIR QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS; SEEKS FEDERAL EPA APPROVAL OF PROPOSED SMOG CHECK PLAN

 SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Standing in front of U.S. EPA regional headquarters with state legislators and smog check workers, Secretary for Environmental Protection James M. Strock today announced the submittal of a revised state implementation plan (SIP) to improve air quality and called on the U.S. EPA to withhold economic sanctions and work with California officials in approving a new smog check program.
 "We stand here today to serve notice that California is absolutely committed to achieving strict clean air standards. To do so, we need the flexibility to enact a Smog Check program that meets those standards without unnecessarily inconveniencing consumers and closing down small businesses," Strock said.
 "Our submittal today, building on the bipartisan proposal embodied in SB 629, both cleans our air and keeps Californians employed. Although SB 629 was not considered by the full state Senate at Administrator Browner's request, we will move to implement those portions of the bill that can be enacted immediately without new legislation. We urge the U.S. EPA to work with us. We stand ready for cooperative work to get the job done," Strock added.
 Strock was joined at a rally of smog check workers by Senators Newton Russell, R-Glendale, and Quentin Kopp, I-San Francisco, co-sponsors of SB 629 along with Assemblyman Richard Katz, D-Panorama City.
 Under the federal Clean Air Act, states are required to submit SIPs which detail efforts by a state to bring its air quality into compliance with federal standards. California today met the deadline to file a revised SIP with U.S. EPA that outlined proposed smog check revisions, which must begin by Jan. 1, 1995, and be fully implemented one year later.
 Today's SIP submittal includes agreement by California to:
 -- Add evaporative pressure testing to all tests performed
 in basic and enhanced areas, effective Jan. 1, 1995;
 -- Work with federal officials in designing and
 implementing a statewide program in 1995 of remote
 sensing devices (RSD) in one or more urban areas of the
 state to identify the dirtiest five percent of vehicles
 subject to the program;
 -- Require smog check stations to use a loaded mode test,
 as specified by the California Bureau of Automotive
 Repair, by January 1996, in areas requiring an enhanced
 testing program, including Sacramento, Bakersfield,
 Fresno, Ventura, Los Angeles/Orange/San
 Bernardino/Riverside, and San Diego counties.
 -- Stations in all other areas would use the same two-
 speed, no-load test in use now with the addition of the
 evaporative pressure test recommended by U.S. EPA;
 -- Increase the repair cost ceilings the maximum allowed
 under the current Consumer Price Index escalator,
 effective Jan. 1, 1995, applying to basic, enhanced
 and change-of-ownership areas;
 -- Continue to expand targeted efforts to incarcerate
 inspectors and smog shop owners who issue fraudulent
 certificates, including expansion of the Partners in
 Clean Air (PICA) program, which combines undercover
 vehicles with immediate remedial training and
 instruction for those who fail to perform proper
 inspections;
 -- Establish by January 1995, a computer network to
 electronically transmit certificates of compliance from
 inspection stations to the Department of Motor Vehicles
 for collection and analysis of testing data to identify
 motorists who are "shopping for a certificate" and
 technicians who are performing test where unreasonably
 low emission results are achieved;
 -- Review the latest improvements to the technicians
 license exam and further increase stringency and/or
 minimum qualifications to take the exam by January
 1995.
 The SIP also makes commitments based on eventual passage and approval of SB 629 including an enhanced enforcement program, full implementation of a gross polluter program, expansion of an anti- tampering program for vehicle fleets, increase in repair cost limits, and evaluation in cooperation with federal officials of enhancements that includes implementation of an already federally approved smog check program as embodied in SB 119 by Senator Robert Presley, D-Riverside, if the state plan fails.
 SB 629, which includes the provisions outlined in today's SIP submittal, was passed overwhelmingly in the state Assembly and Senate Transportation Committee, but was held in the Senate Rules Committee at the personal request of U.S. EPA Administrator Carol Browner.
 U.S. EPA has maintained that California must implement a program of 200-300 centralized test-only stations statewide to replace the current system of 9,600 test and repair facilities to perform 10 million vehicle inspections biennially using costly new equipment.
 "California's plan fulfills the requirements of the federal Clean Air Act and provides high standards to guard against fraud and clean our air without undermining public confidence in our environmental laws by subjecting them to long lines and the `ping-pong' effect of bouncing from testing station to repair facility and back to testing station," Strock said.
 -0- 11/15/93
 /CONTACT: James J. Lee of Cal/EPA, 916-324-9670/


CO: California Environmental Protection Agency ST: California IN: AUT ENV SU:

TM -- SF014 -- 4511 11/15/93 14:02 EST
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Date:Nov 15, 1993
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