Clean Air Advocates Welcome Assembly Passage of AB 349, Urge Nevada Senate to Support Smog Pollution Reduction

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Carson City, NV — Today, Latinx families and environmental advocates applauded the Nevada State Assembly passing Assembly Bill 349, sponsored by Assemblyman Howard Watts (D-Las Vegas). AB 349 would reduce smog pollution by closing a loophole that allows “Classic Cars” to avoid regular smog checks. A study by the state’s Division of Environmental Protection has shown that older vehicles can put out 9 to 18 times as much smog pollution as a newer vehicle. 

The bill would also update the smog check schedule for newer vehicles, allow remote emissions testing, and direct Clark and Washoe Counties to create programs to help low-income vehicle owners whose cars can’t pass a smog check either repair their vehicles or replace them with newer, cleaner vehicles, similar to a successful program run by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

“We have to reduce vehicle pollution now to protect our climate and our health,” said Assemblyman Howard Watts. “AB 349 does that by closing a loophole in our classic car laws and creating a funding mechanism that helps historically underserved communities repair or replace their dirty high-maintenance vehicles. I applaud my colleagues in the Assembly who voted yes for clean air today.”

“On behalf of communities who are breathing unhealthy air, we thank the Assembly members today who voted in favor of AB 349 to close the “Classic Cars” smog check loophole,” said Rudy Zamora, Program Director of Chispa Nevada, a program of the League of Conservation Voters. “86% of Latinos in Nevada support policies to reduce smog and air pollution from older vehicles, like AB 349, because we know that smog can lead to asthma, heart disease and even lung cancer. This bill will not only improve public health and air quality, it will also help reduce the impact smog pollution has on climate change. Most importantly, AB 349 opens the door for county programs that will help low-income Nevadans get access to cleaner transportation. We look forward to seeing the Senate pass this critical piece of legislation.”

“We all have a right to clean air, however, tailpipe emissions threaten public health and contribute to a warming climate. By closing the ‘Classic Car’ loophole, we can remove some of the dirtiest, smog-producing from our roads and make cleaner alternatives available for historically marginalized communities most affected by the climate crisis, all while making progress toward our state’s emissions reduction goal,” said Paul Selberg, Executive Director of Nevada Conservation League. “We are glad to see our Assembly members pass this key legislation to safeguard public and environmental health.”

“As a mother to a three year old who experiences breathing issues during bad air quality days, improving our air quality is important for me and concerned moms across Nevada,” said Cinthia Moore, national lead for EcoMadres, a project of Moms Clean Air Force. “Latino children suffer significantly more negative health impacts from air pollution than their white counterparts and are 60% more likely to suffer from an asthma attack exacerbated by air pollution. AB349 is a step in the right direction in helping improve our air quality and our health by getting older, polluting vehicles off the road.” 

“Transportation impacts every aspect of our day-to-day lives, from how we get to work, how we get to the grocery store, visit the doctor, to even the very air that we breathe,” said Rev. Jackson with the Faith Organizing Alliance. “Yet not all members of our community have the same access and ease of mobility as others, and we do not bear the burden of air pollution the same way. One of the ways we think we can address this is by reducing pollution that comes from vehicles, to reduce contamination that is making our community sick.”