Beating a court-ordered deadline by only a few hours, the Bush administration imposed new air-pollution regulations last Friday that will limit emissions from snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) for the first time. When the rules are in full force after 2012, they will eliminate more than 2 million tons of pollution per year, the equivalent to taking 32 million cars (that’s 15 percent of today’s automobile fleet) off the road, according to the U.S. EPA. The regulations require makers of snowmobiles, ATVs, and dirt bikes to reduce hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide pollution by about 30 percent by 2006 and 50 percent by 2012. Enviros aren’t cheering, however, because the final rules are less strict than those proposed by the administration a year ago. Russell Long of the Bluewater Network in San Francisco says the regulations don’t take adequate advantage of existing technology, such as systems that could reduce pollution from snowmobiles by 98 percent.

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