Tonawanda News

Bob Confer

July 14, 2009

CONFER: The EPA vs. boats, mowers and jobs

We’ve been told time and time again that the exhaust from gas-powered engines used in our vehicles contributes to the degradation of the environment. In the 1970s we were told that the excessive fumes would cool the Earth and bring on a new ice age. In the 1990s and 2000s the tune switched: The carbon dioxide would warm the Earth, melt the polar ice caps and bring on mass starvation.

With Al Gore and similar Chicken Littles relentlessly driving that point home, regulatory agencies tend to overact. After all, if they don’t do something, that one-degree difference in air temperature might condemn a billion people to death. That’s where folks like the California Air Resource Board come in to devise some truly-ridiculous regulations.

CARB somehow got it in their heads that your fuel tanks and powered-equipment not only contribute to global warming when they’re running, but also when they are not. They believe that the plastic tanks and hoses used on your lawn tractor and boat breathe incredible amounts of gas fumes to the air on a non-stop basis. Sure, they might pass some gas through a vented cap or a loose-fitting hose but that’s not what CARB focused on. Instead, they analyzed the gas molecules that gradually work their way through the walls of the tanks or the bodies of the hose. It sounds too nutty to be true, but the CARB people became adamant that those ultra-microscopic particles are killing the atmosphere and, in turn, polar bears. So, laws were devised in California that would stop this fiendish assault on the environment.

Sadly, the Environmental Protection Agency ate-up this tripe and decided to introduce similar standards at the federal level for mowers and watercraft, beginning in 2011. That means pricey changes to the products themselves, both to the manufacturer and the consumer.

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Bob Confer