State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
Residents of southeast Wisconsin are quite familiar with the federal agency, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The EPA has determined the quality of air in our area is hampered by auto emissions. According to the Wisconsin Vehicle Inspection Program (WVIP) Annual Report for 2005-2006, “The U.S. EPA implemented a more stringent ozone standard, the so-called 8-hour ozone standard. In April 2004, several southeastern and eastern Wisconsin counties were designated non-attainment areas under this standard. The WVIP will play an important, ongoing role in the state’s efforts to comply with the standard.”
That means the auto emission program continues in southeast Wisconsin, although there was a change implemented in the program over two weeks ago. As of July 1, 2008, cars and trucks built before 1996 are exempt from undergoing emissions testing.
This seems odd given that the conventional wisdom is older cars produce dirtier emissions and that newer, cleaner running automobiles that have replaced older cars are cleaner and stay cleaner much longer than their predecessors. If any vehicles should be exempt, it should be the newer and not the older models.
Motorists in southeast Wisconsin are also required to pump and use reformulated gas (RFG) that during the summertime costs much more than gasoline in counties outside our region. How effective is RFG in improving the quality of our air? The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel recently posed that question to the EPA. The EPA had to admit that it didn’t know.
From jsonline.com, June 30, 2008:
“The Public Investigator Team asked the Environmental Protection Agency exactly how the gas benefits air quality today. The answer: ‘That's the data we don't know now,’ said Paul Machiele, director of the EPA's Fuels Center in Ann Arbor, Mich.”
During May of this year, I signed a letter with other lawmakers asking the EPA to eliminate the RFG requirement. The EPA says it's preparing a response. Remember, southeast Wisconsin consumers have complained mightily about the effect of RFG, wreaking havoc on automobiles and small engines.
That leads to the latest EPA folly. Nick Loris of the Heritage Foundation reports the EPA is considering a rule that would allow the agency to regulate the emissions of your lawnmower.
Loris writes, “This would require the agency to create different regulations and units of emissions requirements for each gadget that pollutes.”
Loris then quotes from the proposed EPA rule:
“[E]ach application could require a different unit of measure tied to the machine’s mission or output– such as grams per kilogram of cuttings from a “standard” lawn for lawnmowers and grams per kilogram-meter of load lift for forklifts.”
Needless to say, these regulations would be far-reaching, cumbersome, and costly.
Here is Loris’ piece.
The EPA is accepting public comment on the proposed rule. You can e-mail your comments to: a-and-rDocket@epa.gov, fax them to 202-566-9744, or mail them to Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.,Washington, DC 20460.