CBS EVENING NEWS for May 7, 2006, CBS
RUSS MITCHELL, CBS ANCHOR:
…Just ahead on tonight`s CBS EVENING NEWS, why mowing your lawn is creating smog and why some say it`s politicians working hard to keep it that way.
MITCHELL: Gas prices are still climbing, only not as fast. According to the Lundberg Survey prices at the pump rose just four cents over the past two weeks to a national average of $2.95 for self-service regular. Communities all across America are coming alive these days with the sounds of lawn mowers. Not only are mowers loud, they also fill the air with surprising amounts of pollutants, but efforts to reduce more emissions are being stymied. Jerry Bowen tells us how and why.
BOWEN: It may not look like a pollution monster, but California officials say the old family lawnmower is a smog machine. Taken all together little engines that foul the state`s air with 22 tons of pollutants a day, the equivalent of 800,000 cars a day.
FRANK O`DONNELL, CLEAN AIR WATCH: And as the cars get cleaner and cleaner lawn mowers become a bigger and bigger part of the pollution problem.
BOWEN: The solution? California air regulators say it`s simple.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Air pollution control would not be where it is today without the catalytic converter. There is absolutely no question about that.
BOWEN: Adding catalytic converters to lawn mower engines. The same device used on cars to cut smog. The Briggs & Stratton, America`s largest mower engine manufacturer is strongly resisting, and with two plants in Missouri the company is getting some extraordinary help from Missouri Senator Christopher Bond.
SEN. CHRISTOPHER BOND (R), MISSOURI: Unfair California regulations threaten to shut down two Missouri plants.
BOWEN: Bond declined to talk to CBS News but this 2004 campaign ad said Missouri jobs were in jeopardy because of California`s clean air proposal. Briggs & Stratton also declined to be interviewed, but an industry spokesman said the issue is safety, that catalytic converters run hot and could start fires.
RANAJIT SAHU, OUTDOOR POWER EQUIPMENT INSTITUTE: One wildfire, one grass fire, regardless of the safety concerns it poses, will also put out a lot of emissions into the air.
O`DONNELL: Back in the 1970s you had people running around saying if you put catalytic converters on cars it would set fires all across America. Well, that didn`t happen and it`s not going to happen here.
BOWEN: What has happened is that Missouri`s Senator Bond has been able to delay new regulations in California by requiring EPA studies of the standards and when the EPA approved the new standards Bond`s office complained the EPA study was flawed.
SAHU: Although they have done some work we don`t think they have covered the range of the real life use of this - this equipment.
BOWEN: California`s tougher lawn mower regulations may go into effect next year, but they will stop at border. Missouri`s Senator Bond engineered federal legislation that prevents other states from adopting the California standard. Jerry Bowen, CBS News, Los Angeles.