- Associated Press - Thursday, July 16, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Counties where vehicle owners must test car emissions annually would be more than cut in half under legislation making its way through the House.

The bill’s sponsor told the House Finance Committee on Thursday reducing the number of counties from 48 to fewer than 20 is possible after a state environmental report examined proposed federal ozone standards. The report says the state could remove more than two dozen counties from the emissions requirements and still meet standards.

The deleted counties would be mainly rural but also include Henderson, New Hanover and Onslow counties. The changes would take place as soon as 2020.

The state Sierra Club says it’s disappointing to see lawmakers gut a pollution-control program that’s been successful.

The bill passed the committee and now goes to the floor.

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