Car emissions laws in Arizona may become less stringent if the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality decides to change the standard at a public hearing Tuesday.

The Clean Car Program is the standard for car emissions that was agreed to by Arizona and 13 other states that pledged to lower emissions on cars to reduce greenhouse gases.

Arizona already has emissions testing, but the Clean Car Program would toughen restrictions on tailpipe emissions starting in model year 2012 through 2016 and eventually call for zero emission vehicles. Fewer tailpipe emissions mean less pollution in the air.

"The Clean Car program was in response to the lack of action nationally," said Mark Shaffer, a spokesman for ADEQ. "Basically, it was to encourage better gas mileage and reduce emissions."

This was implemented during former Gov. Janet Napolitano's time in office, a time when there was a lot of concern about greenhouse gases and global warming, Shaffer said.

ADEQ plans to change the standards from the tougher Clean Car Program to the national standard, which isn't as strict.

However, Arizona has air quality problems that might be more extensive than other areas of the country. Gila, Maricopa, Pinal and Yuma counties recently received an "F" in the State of the Air Report by the American Lung Association.

There have been two high ozone pollution days in June issued by the ADEQ, as of Friday. Ozone pollution has been tied to asthma attacks, and the warnings encourage people with breathing problems to stay inside.

"This program helps to ensure cleaner vehicles, which means less air pollution," said Diane Brown, executive director of Arizona Public Interest Research Group Education Fund (Arizona PIRG), who supports the Clean Car Program. "It also reduces asthma attacks and other adverse health problems."

Brown said she doesn't understand why Arizona can't meet the Clean Car standards.

The meeting will be 2 p.m. on the third floor, conference room 3175 of the ADEQ and is open to the public. The ADEQ building is located at 1110 W. Washington St., Phoenix.

For those that cannot attend the meeting, comments to Gov. Jan Brewer can be sent online through ArizonaPIRG.org.

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