A proposed law that would eliminate the vehicle emissions testing requirement for Cambria and six other counties was approved by the state Senate Transportation Committee on Wednesday. 

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Wayne Langerholc, R-Richland Township, is part of a legislative package designed to reform and modernize Pennsylvania’s vehicle emissions program.

“Today’s committee votes on these vital bills are the culmination of many years of work on this issue,” Langerholc said in a press release. 

“From Senate Resolution 168 to public hearings, to meetings with stakeholders, we have advocated for the removal of emissions testing in counties that have improved their air quality and meet national standards.”

The bill now will be read for the first time before the full House before it moves to other consideration.

“This is the first step in the legislative process and we will continue to fight for the people of western Pennsylvania who have been saddled with this onerous requirement for far too long,” Langeholc said. 

Senators have recommended removing Cambria, Blair, Westmoreland, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming and Mercer counties from annual emissions testing, but a Joint State Government Commission review warns the action is not authorized under the federal Clean Air Act and might not meet Environmental Protection Agency approval. 

During a hearing last month in Latrobe, Langerholc said he disagreed with the commission. 

“For nearly a decade, our region has met federal air quality standards, so it makes sense for local motorists to no longer have to pay for costly and unnecessary testing that may only be needed in more urban areas of the state,” Langerholc said at the hearing.

Randy Griffith is a multimedia reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 532-5057. Follow him on Twitter @PhotoGriffer57.