WASHINGTON (AP) — The government plans new pollution controls on heavy machinery, yachts, snowmobiles, off-road motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles.
The goal is to reduce air pollutants and the smog that drifts from cities toward national parks, Environmental Protection Agency officials said Wednesday. The plan would add to manufacturers’ costs, but the agency is considering ways to help lessen the impact.
“If left unregulated, pollution from these sources will continue to increase, becoming a larger part of the overall mobile source pollution,” EPA Administrator Christie Whitman said.
The proposal, covering several types of nonroad engines, would help limit the release of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere.
Public hearings on the proposal are set for Oct. 24 in Washington and Oct. 30 in Denver.
Messages left Wednesday for representatives from snowmobile, ATV and yacht manufacturers were not immediately returned.
The engines involved account for about 13 percent of the hydrocarbons, 6 percent of the carbon monoxide and 3 percent of the nitrogen oxides emitted from all mobile sources, the EPA said.
Left unregulated would be the large diesel engines in bulldozers, tractors and other construction equipment whose emissions are sources of smog and soot, said Frank O’Donnell, executive director of Clean Air Trust, an environmental watchdog group.
The EPA said it would regulate:
—Spark-ignition nonroad engines rated over 25 horsepower. These usually are car engines used in heavy machinery such as forklifts, airport baggage transport vehicles and farm and industrial equipment. The government would adopt standards set by California in 1998 and make them effective nationwide in 2004. They would become even stricter after 2007.
—Recreational diesel marine engines used in yachts and other pleasure craft. The government wants to use standards similar to those in place for commercial diesel marine engines, but give manufacturers two years to adapt emissions control technology.
—Snowmobiles. The EPA proposes a standard to cut hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions by 30 percent in 2006 and by 50 percent in 2010. The agency said it believes that can be done by adapting technology from other engine types.
—Off-road motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles. The government hopes to encourage engine changes starting in 2006. In 2009, these vehicles would have to meet more stringent standards. Vehicles intended for use in competition would be exempt.
Already regulated and not included in this proposal are the types of engines used in lawnmowers, garden power equipment and some farm, construction and utility machines.