Sen. Kit Bond: Mowing Down Lawn Mower Reform

Operating a gas-powered lawnmower for one hour emits as much air pollution as driving a car for 13 hours, according to the California Air Resources Board. But Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) has teamed up with Briggs & Stratton, the dominant lawn mower engine maker, to oppose lawn mower reform. (Briggs & Stratton operates two plants in Missouri.)

Bond has blocked a bill by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to limit emissions from lawn mowers and other garden equipment by installing catalytic converters. Bond and Briggs & Stratton argue that “converters could add a dangerous amount of heat to already hot engines, creating a fire hazard.” But an EPA study requested by Bond directly refutes his claim:

Our technical work and subsequent analysis of all of the data and information strongly indicate that catalyst-based standards can be implemented without an incremental increase in the risk of fire or burn to the consumer.

Bond is now rejecting the study. Briggs & Stratton is taking its complaints to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), even though the commission staff wrote in March that it was “satisfied that likely fire hazard scenarios were accounted for” by the EPA study. But perhaps this time it will be more receptive — Bond chairs the Senate committee that funds the CPSC.


More lawn mower myths at Gristmill.