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Deal Could Let State Impose Emission Rules

June 10, 2005|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — California rules to reduce small-engine pollution could take effect as planned under a deal Thursday between Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Christopher S. "Kit" Bond (R-Mo).

Bond had proposed bill language that California officials feared would indefinitely delay plans to cut pollution produced by such small-engine machines as leaf blowers and lawnmowers.

Bond, who believes that jobs in Missouri are threatened by manufacturing changes under the new rules, wanted a costly and open-ended study to prove that less polluting devices would be safe and would cost no jobs.

Feinstein persuaded Bond to limit the scope of the proposed study and confine it to six months, which California officials believe would give them enough time to put their rules into effect in 2007, as planned.

"I believe we can live with this," Feinstein told the Senate Appropriations Committee before the spending bill amendment she and Bond worked out passed on a voice vote.

"This is of considerable importance," she said. "California has reduced factory emissions, moving emissions, every kind of emission; we still can't meet clean-air standards."

Bond hailed the vote as a victory because the amendment still would require a federal safety study of the catalytic converters required to reduce emissions under California's plan.

California is aiming to slash small-engine pollution by 35% as it works to meet federal smog standards. The regulations would have the effect of removing 1.8 million cars from California roads by 2020, Feinstein said.

The compromise language would still need to pass the full Senate and the House.

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