Clean-car bill to be revived next session

March 27, 1992|By Laura Lippman | Laura Lippman,Annapolis Bureau

ANNAPOLIS -- The Schaefer administration's effort to legislate cleaner cars stalled out this year, but the governor said yesterday that he will try again in 1993 -- with tentative backing from a key opponent.

The so-called California car standards, which require vehicles to produce 75 percent fewer pollutants, will get the backing of Sen. Walter M. Baker, who had helped defeat the bill in the Judicial Proceedings Committee, Gov. William Donald Schaefer said.

According to a statement from the governor's office, Mr. Baker said he could support the bill for low emission vehicles next year so long as it did not require California fuels.

"I realize cleaner cars are an important element in comprehensive plans to improve Maryland's air quality," said Mr. Baker, a Cecil County Democrat who serves as chairman of Judicial Proceedings.

A Senate version of the bill failed in Mr. Baker's committee on a 6-5 vote. The House Environmental Matters panel approved a similar bill.

Low emission vehicles were seen as one way for Maryland to deal with its air pollution problems. The Baltimore metropolitan area has the nation's sixth worst ground-level ozone problem, while Washington, D.C., and Cecil County are among the 10 worst ozone areas.

"Nearly 4 million Marylanders are exposed to unhealthy air each year and we cannot let that continue," Mr. Schaefer said. "Since motor vehicles are the largest contributors to the ozone problem, it only makes sense to reduce the pollutants they produce."

Today in Annapolis

10 a.m.: Senate convenes, State House.

11 a.m.: House convenes, State House.

1 p.m.: House Economic Matters Committee considers legislation to require insurance coverage for child-wellness services, Room 150, House Office Building.

11 days remaining in the 1992 General Assembly session.

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