CS Monitor Favors Mower Regulation

     The Christian Science Monitor gave a green thumbs up to a recent EPA decision mandating emission standards for new lawnmowers. It downplayed one detail about the increased regulation – higher costs.

     “[H]elp is on the way. Thanks to a new rule unveiled by the Environmental Protection Agency this week, homeowners will finally be able to buy mowers that give their lawn a truly clean cut,” wrote Mark Clayton in the April 19 Monitor.

     According to the Monitor, the EPA decision means that by 2011 new mowers must filter out “an additional 35 pollutants … in addition to the 60 percent reduction mandated last year.” The rule will also affect other small engines like boats and jetskis.

     “That’s good” stated Clayton, because U.S. mowers emit “far more” pollution than cars.

     The Monitor minimized additional costs to the consumer, saying the new mowers may cost “a few dollars more.” But the paper did not ask about the burden the new regulation would place on mower manufacturers’ costs or labor decisions.

     That figure also understates both EPA and Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) estimates.

     “Costs of the new rule could add up to $47 to the price of a lawn tractor, $280 to an outboard engine and $360 to a personal watercraft, the EPA says,” wrote the USA Today.

     But according to James McNew of OPEI the EPA estimate of $47 is low, about 25-30 percent of its estimate. In other words, mowers alone could cost a couple hundred dollars more.

     McNew told the Business & Media Institute that costs depend on what technology must be added to meet the requirements. Another question is whether the cost will come out of the manufacturers’ pocket or the consumers’, though he admitted that consumers likely will have to pay at least part.

     “Manufacturers can’t keep absorbing the losses [from regulation],” McNew added.