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EPA Overcomes Budget Office, Issues Tougher Exhaust Rules

March 09, 1985|From a Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency issued regulations Friday to reduce emissions from trucks and buses, overcoming opposition from the White House Office of Management and Budget, which wanted more relaxed standards.

The regulations, required under the 1970 Clean Air Act and a recent court order, will force new buses and trucks to install pollution-control devices in three stages. Minor improvements are mandated in 1988, followed by progressively stronger adjustments in 1991 and 1994.

The EPA said that by 1994 the regulations will have increased the price of light-duty trucks by about $28, of heavy-duty gasoline-powered vehicles by $21 and of buses and other heavy-duty diesel-powered vehicles by $682.

An EPA spokesman said the new standards will reduce particulate emissions in urban areas by 46% by the year 2000. Particulates, emitted in the black plume of bus exhaust, are suspected of causing cancer.

The new regulations will also prevent the level of nitrogen oxide emitted from trucks and buses from increasing above current levels, the EPA said. Nitrogen oxide, a component of smog, causes respiratory problems.

However, environmentalists and the state of California have criticized the regulations as too weak. They maintain that the improvements in the exhaust standards will not even keep pace with the growing number of vehicles on the road.

Administration officials said Budget Director David A. Stockman had objected to the EPA's proposed regulations as too stringent. But in a meeting Friday with EPA Administrator Lee M. Thomas, Stockman agreed to support the agency's plans.

"In the course of the meeting, the differences were apparently ironed out," said EPA spokesman David Cohen. "From our point of view, these were the rules that are in the best interest of protecting public health."

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