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By Chris Baltimore

    WASHINGTON, Sept 13 (Reuters) - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday was set to issue first-time standards to limit air pollution from snowmobiles and other off-road vehicles.

    The rules apply to over a million estimated U.S. conveyances, ranging from yachts and cruisers to forklifts, motorbikes, airport support equipment and other gasoline-powered vehicles.

    EPA says the new rules, among the first air-pollution standards to be finalized by the Bush administration, will take 2 million tons of smog and other unhealthy substances out of the air every year, and save $8 billion in health-related costs by 2030, when older engines now in operation should be fully phased out, the EPA said.

    "It's equivalent to taking about 32 million cars off the road," an EPA official said. "Engine for engine these sources put out a lot more pollution than cars do." For example, a snowmobile can spew as much pollution as about 100 automobiles, according to EPA data.

    The agency faced a court-ordered deadline to finalize the rules by Friday, and had yet to release a final version by late in the day. EPA based its comments on a draft version which will likely be finalized.

    Emission rules governing snowmobiles elicited the biggest response from environmental groups. The Bush administration this year allowed snowmobiles to enter national parks like Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, reversing a Clinton administration ban.

    Amid heavy lobbying pressure from the White House and snowmobile makers, the EPA backed off from a stronger set of rules it was previously considering, environmental groups said.

    The EPA in 2001 proposed to reduce snowmobiles emissions of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons by 30 percent in 2006 and 50 percent by 2010. The draft version of the rules includes a 50 percent cut in hydrocarbons by 2010, but a 30 percent cut in carbon monoxide.

    "It is very difficult for them to achieve those reductions in some of their engines in that timeframe," the EPA official said.

    Environmental groups want the EPA to require more snowmobiles to use four-stroke engines, which burn more fuel during their combustion process than two-stroke engines, which release a large amount of their fuel unburned into the air as exhaust.

    "The EPA will allow snowmobiles to be produced with World War Two-era two-stroke engines when other EPA rules for everything from lawn mowers to chain saws ... largely phase them out," said Scott Kovarovics, director of the Natural Trails and Waters Coalition.

    Environmental Defense attorney Vickie Patton called the new snowmobile standards a "snow job." "EPA is squandering an important and highly cost-effective opportunity to cut harmful air pollutants from these very dirty engines," Patton said.
 

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all i can say is that im keeping my MXZ FOR EVER!!!!
 

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2 stroke lawnmowers are something of a novelty now. I'd like to see them attempt to ban the two stroke weedeater. I have a four stroke unit. While I like the thing, and like not having to mix gas and oil, it is a HEAVY SOB! :(
 
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