NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Potential Restrictions from Proposed Clean Air Regulations

April 17, 1997

Today, some communities ban fireplaces and regulate lighter fluid just to meet existing EPA clean air standards.

But the Environmental Protection Agency's latest, proposed clean air rules may be a lot more intrusive on individual lifestyles than the public realizes, some analysts warn. They may even wind up banning such items as outdoor barbecue grills and lawnmowers.

  • The EPA itself has tried to impose mandatory car pooling rules on some communities.
  • And the agency is promoting emissions rules for lawnmowers, leaf blowers and other consumer products.
  • Motor boats have also been cited as significant pollution contributors.

Experts say that industries can no longer be counted on for further gains in fighting air pollution, since they have already contributed just about as much as they can. People's travel, recreation and lawns are the new targets.

In fact, in some areas, they have already been targeted.

  • There are restrictions on wood fires in fireplaces in Denver, Albuquerque and some areas of California.
  • Some communities have been forced to announce "ozone action days," during which citizens are asked to drive less, not cut their lawns, not use charcoal lighter fluid, not apply oil-based paints and postpone refueling cars.

Some states have fought back. Virginia won a court battle over EPA's attempt to force the state from emissions tests done at any certified gas station to centralized sites. When Virginia argued that EPA was unjustly forcing its drivers to live with the same emissions standards imposed on California, a federal appeals panel agreed, saying, "EPA's rule does not respect the states' independent authority; it removes it."

Source: John Merlin, "Will New Air Rules Ruin July 4?" Investor's Business Daily, April 17, 1997.


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