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Hearings On Proposed Changes To Air Rules

Traffic jam
epSos via Flickr, Creative Commons

There are public hearings on proposed changes to auto emissions tests and toxic air pollutant rules this week in Raleigh.

A bill that passed the legislature would exempt cars and light-duty trucks from their first three years of auto emissions tests. Right now cars and trucks are exempt only during their first year. That hearing is Wednesday evening. And another hearing is scheduled for Thursday on a bill that would change the state's rules for controlling toxic air pollutants.

Tom Mather is a spokesman for the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

"There are a lot of different types of toxic air emissions- at the federal level about 150, at the state about 100, and some of these plants that emit these pollutants are close to where people live, if they happen to live near industry or an industrial park. So they are things that people might be concerned about," said Mather.

The bill says that if a company meets the federal rules then it will automatically comply with state rules. The Southern Environmental Law Center objects to the proposed change, saying federal regulations won't adequately protect residents who live near multiple plants emitting pollution.

Jessica Jones covers both the legislature in Raleigh and politics across the state. Before her current assignment, Jessica was given the responsibility to open up WUNC's first Greensboro Bureau at the Triad Stage in 2009. She's a seasoned public radio reporter who's covered everything from education to immigration, and she's a regular contributor to NPR's news programs. Jessica started her career in journalism in Egypt, where she freelanced for international print and radio outlets. After stints in Washington, D.C. with Voice of America and NPR, Jessica joined the staff of WUNC in 1999. She is a graduate of Yale University.
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