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Bond blames EPA for small engine plant closure

(UPI file photo/Bill Greenblatt)

By Adam Allington, KWMU

St. Louis – Senator Kit Bond of Missouri said EPA emissions standards are hurting American industry. The Republican pointed to the impending closure of a Briggs and Stratton small engine plant in Rolla as evidence.

The Rolla plant has 500 workers who make engines for lawn and garden equipment.

The EPA recently proposed rules that would cut emissions from lawn mowers by roughly 40 percent. Bond said those changes put American industry at a disadvantage.

"It's another example of the precarious position of American manufacturing in what they face both from overseas competition and overly restrictive American limitations," Bond said.

The EPA says one hour of lawnmower use produces as much tailpipe emissions as driving a car for 350 miles.

Briggs and Stratton will start closing its doors on June 22.

Plant Manager Mark Lehn said the plant closing was a result of several market factors.

"Our product has kind of moved from a dealer-base to more of a big box product," Lehn said. "So WalMart, Home Depot, Lowes, they're very competitive with each other, so as a result they require their suppliers to be competitive."

Part of Briggs and Stratton's production will transfer to a plant in Poplar Bluff, Mo.; the rest will go to facilities in China.