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Push On For Tightened Off-Road Emissions Rules

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Two environmental groups have filed suit seeking to force the Bush administration to tighten its new emissions standards for snowmobiles and other off-road vehicles.

The groups, Bluewater Network and Environmental Defense, want the Environmental Protection Agency to revise its standards to require even greater emissions reductions to be phased-in through 2012. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

The EPA issued a final rule last fall requiring cleaner snowmobiles, dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles, diesel-powered boats and some other combustion engines. Snowmobiles, for example, must have a 50 percent reduction in emissions by 2012.

The agency said requiring cleaner machines will cut pollution by two million tons a year, which would be like taking 32 million cars off the nation´s roads.

Russell Long of the Bluewater Network says the rule was too lenient because it allowed two-stroke snowmobile engines to continue to be sold indefinitely, did not require catalytic converters for all-terrain vehicles and failed to regulate noise pollution.