CLEVELAND — There’s a possible change coming to the E-check system that would make the requirement for those in Cuyahoga and six other counties to get their vehicles checked for emissions standards a thing of the past.

For auto shops around Northeast Ohio, there’s one issue customers request almost daily.

“Making sure their vehicles can pass the emissions inspections,” Anthony Bartholomew, mechanic at Terry’s North Coast Auto Repair, said.

E-checks started in the 90s to identify vehicles that give off excessive levels of pollutants in the air. 

“This is all about the environment, keeping those emissions levels down that helps protect our environment,” Bartholomew said.

On Thursday, Ohio’s House of Representatives voted the mandatory checks don’t do what they were intended to do.

Right now, only seven of the 88 counties in Ohio are subject to the E-checks not including areas in Columbus or Cincinnati.

State Representative Diane Grendell, who supports the elimination of the program, testified at the statehouse that it’s not solving any problems, it’s creating them.

“E-check is a perfidious, problematic, punishing mandate perpetrated on our people,” Grendell said. “The testing is contaminated, and it doesn't work, it's invalid.”

Mechanics admit that newer cars do emit less but it’s still a concern for groups like the EPA, who say E-checks are responsible for reducing thousands of ozone pollutants already.

“In 2017, E-Check was responsible for a reduction of 1,317 tons of nitrogen oxides and 1,100 tons of hydrocarbons from the air, for a total emissions reduction of 2,417 tons of ozone emissions,” the Ohio EPA stated in a press release.

For E-checks to be a distant memory, it’ll first have to get enough votes in the Senate then move on to be approved by the U.S. EPA and Congress.

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