March 17, 2006

EPA Seeks Cleaner Lawn Mower

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday that catalytic converters can safely be added to lawn mower and jet ski engines to meet tougher clean air rules the agency plans to propose later this year.

An agency report cleared the way for the government to require less-polluting gasoline engines that are smaller than 50 horsepower.

The study concluded that technology would allow companies to make the cleaner-burning smaller engines without increasing the risk of fire or burns to consumers.

It was required under a legislative deal between Sen. Kit Bond, a Missouri Republican, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat. Bond had argued that regulations on small engines could force production overseas.

Some manufacturers, including Briggs & Stratton Corp. which has production facilities in Missouri, had argued that the smog devices could start fires.

Small engines emit about 10 percent of the pollutants that make up smog.

Other federal agencies and more than 20 experts, including fire marshals and engine manufacturers, were consulted for the report.

EPA spokesman John Millett said after the agency proposes the rules, they should be finalized in 2007.