The Honorable Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr.
President of the Senate
Annapolis, MD 21401
Dear Mr. President:
In accordance with Article II, Section 17 of the Maryland Constitution, I have today vetoed Senate Bill 217 - Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program - Motor Homes.
As introduced, Senate Bill 217 would have exempted motor homes with a gross vehicle weight rating over 10,000 pounds from emissions standards or tests. As amended and passed by the General Assembly, the bill exempts a motor home with a gross vehicle weight rating over 10,000 pounds and that is not powered by a compression ignition engine from the current IM 240 dynamometer test. Although this approach is consistent with the existing practice of the Motor Vehicle Administration, I do not believe that we should codify this exemption.
A recent report by the American Lung Association revealed that, once again, the air quality in Maryland is poor. Already this month, we have had several days of unhealthful air recorded in Central Maryland. The Baltimore-Washington region was found to have the seventh worst smog levels in the United States, and Anne Arundel County was ranked tenth in the country for smog levels. Poor air quality can cause severe health problems, particularly for our most vulnerable citizens. While we do not completely control our air quality, and smokestacks from the Midwest contribute greatly to our problems, we should not statutorily weaken our emissions program.
Since the enactment of the current Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program, there have been numerous attempts to delay, weaken and enact exemptions to the Program. Chapter 480 of the 1999 Laws of Maryland provides an exemption for disabled individuals and senior citizens who meet certain criteria. In order to qualify for the exemption, all owners of the vehicle must meet the statutory criteria. For the past 2 years, there have been attempts to broaden those exemptions, by granting an exemption if any owner of the vehicle meets the criteria. There have also been attempts to entirely exempt certain counties from the Program.
The Honorable Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. May 17, 2001 Page Two At a time when our air quality continues to deteriorate, I cannot support efforts to codify additional exemptions to this Program. While we may never need to alter our current testing requirements and procedures, we should not grant statutory exemptions, which are almost always, as a practical matter, irreversible.
For the above reasons, I have vetoed Senate Bill 217.
Parris N. Glendening