Cleaner-cars measure called 'dead for today'

March 19, 1992|By Laura Lippman | Laura Lippman,Annapolis Bureau

ANNAPOLIS -- Proponents of a bill to mandate cleaner cars for Maryland have not given up the fight, despite Sen. Walter M. Baker's assertion he will refuse to hold another vote on the issue in the Judicial Proceedings Committee, of which he is chairman.

The senator said yesterday he did not plan to allow his committee to vote on a House of Delegates bill that would require cars sold in Maryland to meet the California standards for tail pipe emissions. The bill is scheduled to be voted on tomorrow by the full House.

"It's dead for today," the Cecil County senator said after yesterday's Senate session, leaving open the possibility he could change his mind about the vote.

Mr. Baker said he was reluctant to let the bill out of his committee because then he could not control it. Even when a similar Senate bill was in his committee, the senator had trouble shaping it as he desired. The measure failed 6-5, after committee members rejected their chairman's amendments.

But the Schaefer administration, the Department of the Environment and environmentalists are not about to concede defeat.

David S. Iannucci, the chief lobbyist for Gov. William Donald Schaefer, said he won't give up until he talks with the senator face to face. He said the governor also may talk with Mr. Baker on the bill's behalf.

Meanwhile, the Department of the Environment has released a list of 100 industries that could be required to reduce their emissions if the state does pass tougher standards for cars.

"Without these low emission vehicle reductions, we will have to reduce emissions by approximately 25 percent from the top 100 stationary sources by 2005," states the letter from the Department of Environment, which includes Baltimore Gas & Electric plants, Sweetheart Cup and H&S Bakery.

Because of the stricter emissions standards in California, cars sold there are 75 percent "cleaner" than those sold in other states. The Schaefer administration and the Department of the Environment see California cars as a way to reduce air pollution in the Baltimore and Washington areas.

By November 1994, the state must give the federal government a clean-air plan, environment secretary Robert Perciasepe has said. If legislation on cars cannot pass the General Assembly, Maryland will take other steps, he said.

Although the Senate version of the California-cars measure failed 6-5 in the committee, Sen. Ralph M. Hughes, a Baltimore Democrat, indicated he might change his vote.

The senator, who voted against the bill because he was worried about jobs at the local General Motors Corp.'s assembly plant, said yesterday that he was willing to hear again from both sides on the issue.

Today in Annapolis

10 a.m.: House and Senate convene, State House.

1 p.m.: Senate Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee considers bill that would repeal the requirement to cancel voter registration automatically for persons who have not voted in the past five years, Room 200, Senate Office Building.

1:30 p.m.: House Ways and Means Committee considers a variety of Senate bills involving horse racing, Room 110, House Office Building.

There are 19 days remaining in the 1992 General Assembly session.

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