Tuesday, December 12, 2006

About Time for Lawnmowers

Blowers next?

State crackdown on lawn mowers
Feds allow pollution standards on small engines, with catalytic converters for new models.
By Chris Bowman - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PST Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Come next spring, cutting the green will become greener in California thanks to a federal decision Monday granting the state permission to require smog controls on lawn mowers.

California air quality officials applauded the hard-won U.S. Environmental Protection Agency waiver, saying it reaffirms the state's need to set its own, strongest-in-the-nation emission standards.

U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., had tried for years to block California's effort to curtail smog-forming exhausts from small engines, saying the costs of making the lower-polluting models would force production overseas. The leading small-engine manufacturer, Briggs & Stratton, has two plants in Bond's home state.

"In the end, truth won out that this is good for the environment, it's not very costly and it's safe," said Tom Cackette, deputy executive officer of the California Air Resources Board.

"And, if all goes well, California standards will be the model for the nation one more time."

Most small-engine manufacturers are expected to meet the tougher emission standards by adding a catalytic converter, the same device strapped on automotive exhaust systems to cut smog.