As part of local efforts to keep Hood County out of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) non-attainment area, the Granbury City Council has passed a motor vehicle idling ordinance.
No gasoline or diesel powered vehicle with a GVWR greater than 14,000 pounds will be allowed to idle for more than five minutes when the vehicle is not in motion. GVWR is the maximum weight of a fully loaded vehicle.
Cars and pickups weigh much less; the ordinance applies to large trucks.
As part of the new rules, no driver using a vehicle’s sleeper berth can let the vehicle idle within a two-mile radius of a public facility that offers external heating and air conditioning.
The City Council also approved a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to allow for local enforcement of the state vehicle idling limitations.
The council took the action after brief remarks from Michelle McKenzie, a Tarleton State University student who was hired as a master’s level intern to assist the Hood County Clear Air Coalition.
The coalition was formed at a time when Hood County was in danger of being placed in the Metroplex-area nonattainment zone.
The classification would have had significant economic impact on the county, and likely would have dampened economic development.
McKenzie’s field of study is environmental science. She told the City Council that Hood County “is already having some issues with ozone.”
The ordinance, she said, will help by reducing emissions from vehicles. Those emissions lead to the formation of ozone, a colorless, unstable toxic gas with strong oxidizing properties.
The new ordinance will only apply within the city limits. In the county, idling reductions will occur on a voluntary basis. County commissioners do not have the same authority to pass and enforce ordinances as city councils do.
Council member Tony Allen, who owns a restaurant in the city limits, said he recently asked a trucker making a delivery to his restaurant to cut his engine.
He said the man told him that he had to leave the engine running in order to keep his cargo refrigerated.
Allen said he disagreed with the man about not being able to cut the engine long enough to make his delivery.
“We need to all chip in and do our part,” he said.
Mayor Pro Tem Nin Hulett said that Tolar and Cresson also are planning to adopt the ordinance.
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