Congress Refuses to Interfere with California Clean-Air Regulations

One trouble with pork-barrel politics: Sometimes your colleagues decide you’re acting like a pig. That may be what happened yesterday, when congressional negotiators tossed out Sen. Kit Bond’s (R-Mo.) spending-bill amendment, which would have prevented California from requiring catalytic converters on small engines, such as those found in lawn equipment. Bond’s amendment, which was approved by the Senate before being axed by joint House-Senate negotiators, was basically a favor to one company, the small-engine manufacturer Briggs and Stratton, whose largest factories are located in the senator’s home state. Apparently, the negotiators decided that California’s right to clean up its air was more important — a victory for the state’s congressional delegation and for the brand-spankin’-new Schwarzenegger administration.