Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Public radio's "Marketplace" on EPA lawnmower proposal

A greener way to cut grass

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The EPA has proposed new rules designed to help reduce summertime smog. It says adding catalytic converters to small engines on boats and lawnmowers could bring levels down as much as 10%, but manufacturers say it could be dangerous.

TEXT OF STORYMARK AUSTIN THOMAS: The Environmental Protection Agency has come up with a greener way to cut your grass. Yesterday, the EPA proposed new rules designed to reduce pollution from small engines that are used on lawnmowers and boats. Nancy Marshall Genzer has more.

NANCY MARSHALL GENZER: There's a reason your lawnmower and boat engines are so stinky. They don't have catalytic converters. Yesterday, the EPA proposed rules that would change that, reducing pollution from small engine emissions by up to 70 percent. Frank O'Donnell of Clean Air Watch says the new rules would improve summertime smog.

FRANK O'DONNELL: Small engines could actually amount to about 10 percent of smog-forming emissions in the summer months. But manufacturers say catalytic converters on lawnmowers will add heat to already hot engines, causing fires. James McNew is with the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute.

JAMES McNEW: The equipment is designed to be used in areas where there is grass and debris that could easily combust. The EPA argues its research shows catalytic converters could actually cool engines down. In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall

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