The testing process involves putting your car on a dynamometer that allows the wheels to turn at highway speeds. Pollutants are measured exiting from the tailpipe during this process. At least that is the theory. Oh, if you pass the test, you don't get the specifics; it's the old pass/fail that some educators think will make our kids smarter! You give them $19.50 and they don't even tell you how you really did. Did you just squeak by or did you tickle the lower limits of the sensors? By the time you read this entire piece, you will know why all the secrecy. If you raise mushrooms, you already know!
Dynamometers have been used by automotive engineers for many years. Dyno testing stresses your car and can measure its horsepower and torque under load. The theory is that you make adjustments and see how much improvement you can make. But like a stress test for people with heart conditions, the patient has to be monitored and the test stopped before a catastrophe occurs. When people get stress tests, a doctor with many years of education and experience makes sure that you don't die in the process. In the case of testing your car, Envirotest has people with no engineering degree and only a week or two of formal training in charge of the process. What's wrong with this picture? News reports are detailing stories of those unfortunate people whose engines and transmissions have been damaged by these "qualified" Envirotest employees.
But never fear, all the protesting over the competence of these qualified garage mechanics has influenced whoever it is that makes all these rules and regulations has resulted in a change. Now you can have any unqualified or qualified mechanic mess with your car and the State of Ohio doesn't care. Imagine that! You can pay your money and take your choice! As practical as that might sound, there is trouble brewing. Now all these garages that made an effort to get their qualification are a little upset. Their business has competition from those who didn't have to qualify. There is just no pleasing everyone.
Oh yes, there has been another change since the program got started. Now there are provisions for you to obtain a waiver if you spend a certain amount of money on repairs. I'm having a little trouble with the math on this, but maybe it has to do with paying a garage mechanic a certain amount of money that will result in tax revenue for the State of Ohio to offset the polution that your defective car might produce. The State of Ohio could then use the money to pay for increased health care costs for all the people that get sick because of that vehicle. It really pays to think about these things!
When you are a politician, the most important thing to you is getting money to spend on whatever makes you look good. The Federal EPA, simply out of control, sets standards for pollutants and then places the burden on the states to institute programs designed to meet those standards. They threaten to cut off highway funding if the state doesn't comply. Now if you are Voinovich, you are not to enthused about losing that money you want to spend on those projects that make you look good, so you simply go along with the establishment. George is supposed to be a Republican (conservative) but he acts more like a liberal when it comes to the environment. He'd rather convince you that all this testing is going to make Ohio a better place for our children and grandchildren. The fact is that these tests are not going to improve the environment significantly. And besides, the environment is cleaner than it's been in 20 years according to George. Politicians the likes of Abraham Lincoln are almost extinct. Today's politicians seem to have no conviction, except to get re-elected. Those few who do say and stand for what they believe are classified as extremists and are to be rejected for their absolute views.
But the problem with the EPA is that when air quality is improved, they panic because if the air is clean, they don't have jobs. But since they control the standards, their problem is not a problem. The EPA simply raises the standard (or lowers it depending on your point of view). All of a sudden, pollution is a big problem again and they all get to keep their jobs. The February 25, 1996 Cleveland Plain Dealer article reports that since Cleveland complied with the ozone standard in 1995, they (the EPA) need to raise the standard in order to protect the health and welfare of you and me. This is pure bunk. The only thing that these EPA employees are protecting is their continued employment. EPA Administrator Carol Browner, regulatory planner John Bachmann, director of policy analysis Jeff Clark all have jobs that depend on more restrictive standards. What would you expect them to say? Let's pack it up and get a real job? Not hardly.
Then there is the American Lung Association. They used to be content with simply attacking the tobacco industry, but now they have turned to air pollution for continued notoriety. The lung people have spent millions upon millions of dollars on research to find a cure for cancer. Cancer is taking as many lives as ever and all the research hasn't amounted to beans. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you smoke, the air you breath when you're not smoking is a lot cleaner. They support the EPA's stricter standards, saying that the health risk is too great. Why almost every day, people walking down the street fall over dead after a out of tune car goes by. The problem is that these organizations put the fear into all of us by intimidation. We are simply listening to opinions rather than facts.
The American Lung Association sued the federal government when the Bush administration froze the pollution standards. I think it's time to put the American Lung Association out of business when they use our money to sue the taxpayer that supports them. They are not going to get any of my money if I can help it. They should be spending their money on research that finds a cure for lung cancer instead of suing the government.
Maybe we ought to start encouraging the media to be more objective in their reporting and leave the analysis to us. If I listen to one of President Clinton's speeches, the last thing I need is for Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather telling me what he said. But they think that we are too stupid to understand and they must help us see more clearly. The media and big government both consider most of us too dumb to figure this stuff out for ourselves and they only want to help. Well, go help somebody else.
Governor Voinovich and State Senator Suhadolnik still have a chance to undo what they have done. Personally, I don't think either one of them has enough character to admit their mistake and then rectify it. But I could be wrong.......so gentlemen, go ahead and surprise me. The EIDX Network will print an apology in H2 type font on page one if you make auto emissions testing go away.