April 8, 2003
Extremists Trying to Derail New EPA Regs
Sled makers file counter suit
While disregarding years of scientific study, environmental activists are trying to block new EPA emission regulations for off-road vehicles. The move has forced snowmobile manufacturers to file a counter suit to ensure timely enforcement of the new regulations to improve air quality.
The International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA) filed a counter suit in January in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to stop legal maneuvers by radical environmental groups that could leave the U.S. without new standards and an orderly timetable for reducing snowmobile exhaust emissions.
“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed ambitious standards and an aggressive schedule that will reduce snowmobile emissions in the next decade by 70 percent from present levels,” Ed Klim, president of ISMA, said.
“Despite the standards’ basis in sound and unbiased scientific data— reviewed by independent experts—environmental extremists seem more intent on perpetuating their movements than in moving America toward meaningful air quality improvement,” Klim said.
The ISMA legal action comes in response to the San Francisco-based Bluewater Network which filed suit, along with other organizations, on Jan. 7, 2003, challenging the EPA rule, claiming the new requirements are not stringent enough.
“These fringe activists are simply unable to accept the facts,” Klim said.?“Even the EPA admitted that unbiased scientific data proved snowmobile emission levels were previously overestimated by more than 70 percent. These activists have waged an unwarranted campaign against snowmobiles based on nothing but junk science and misinformation. Now they have filed a frivolous lawsuit, trying to use the court system to overturn the ambitious emission reduction schedule the industry is hard at work trying to meet.”
The new EPA regulations announced in October call for a stringent three-phase reduction in snowmobile emissions. By 2006, emission levels must be reduced to 70 percent of levels permitted in 2002. By 2010, emissions must be reduced to half of present-day levels, and by 2012 emissions can amount to only 30 percent of present levels.
By filing its counter suit, the snowmobile manufacturers will take part in the court proceedings and be in a position to protect snowmobilers’ interests and ensure the current emission reduction schedule is not suddenly revoked.
“We’ve worked too hard to let some fringe group undo all the good that’s been accomplished over the past few years,” Klim said.?“We need to be a part of these proceedings to ensure any emission reduction plan will continue to be based on scientific facts, not on unsubstantiated guesses about future snowmobile designs.”
Klim said that in setting the new emission standards, snowmobile manufacturers made a genuine effort to inform EPA of the unique challenges related to redesigning snowmobiles. “It has always been the position of the snowmobile manufacturers that any emission reduction plans should be based on the scientific research and analyses that have been conducted by respected independent research organizations, including the Southwest Research Institute, Sierra Research Inc., and National Economic Research Associates. These groups have conducted exhaustive studies analyzing current emission levels, snowmobile use factors and cost benefit analysis. We said all along that we’d tell the truth about snowmobiling and the truth has prevailed.”
The new EPA standards must be met by the manufacturers based on the average emission levels of their respective product lines, which will enable them to introduce new emission reduction technology across their entire product lines. So that environmental benefits are achieved as early as possible, the new regulations provide incentives in the form of credits for producing snowmobiles that achieve the new standards. All manufacturers are working diligently to meet the new EPA regulations, according to Klim.