(12 November 2003 -- Washington, D.C.) Environmental Defense today expressed extreme disappointment in the U.S. Senate's inclusion of anti-clean air language in the Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies appropriations bill (S. 1584). This language written by Senator Christopher "Kit" Bond (R-MO) on behalf of Briggs and Stratton, an engine manufacturer in his state, is intended to eliminate rules in California that would reduce emissions from lawn and garden equipment by 50%. However, because the rider is so broadly written, it could eradicate the ability of any state in the nation to address air pollution from nonroad engines.
Although the final language that passed was compromise language from Senator Bond, it still takes away states' rights to address this pollution source. Further, the pollution emitted from the vehicles impacted by Senator Bond's compromise language is equivalent to the pollution from more than 78 million cars and SUVs.
"This unnecessary attack on the Clean Air Act could wipe out important efforts by states to fight asthma, lung disease and cancer by cleaning the air," said Environmental Defense legislative counsel John Bowman. "It is particularly unnecessary, since after the initial introduction of the language, California changed its rules to address Senator Bond's concerns."
It is noteworthy that currently there are at least 14 states considering programs to reduce emissions from engines affected by the Bond Amendment. These states are Alabama, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.