Missouri senator delays small-engine pollution regulation, again

Small engines have a big impact — when you use a standard gas-powered lawn mower for an hour, you’ve spewed as much pollution as 50 cars driving 20 miles each. Nevertheless, someone builds those small engines, and that means jobs — specifically, jobs in Missouri, or more specifically yet, jobs at engine manufacturer Briggs & Stratton, protected jealously by Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond (R-Mo.). For years, Bond has attempted to delay or preempt strict new regulations on engines of 50 horsepower or less. His latest maneuver is an amendment to the Interior Department appropriations bill: Originally, it would have required that any such regulations wait on a long, open-ended study of catalytic converters, which substantially reduce emissions. Pressure from California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) — whose state has small-engine regulations set to go into effect in 2007, removing the equivalent of 1.8 million cars from the road by 2020 — whittled the study down to six months. The appropriations bill awaits approval from House and Senate.