D.C. leader proposes ban on gasoline-powered leaf blowers

Ward 3 Council member Mary Cheh introduced a ban on gasoline-powered leaf blowers in D.C. at a D.C. Council meeting Tuesday, DCist reported.

Cheh, who is also a professor at GW Law School, said she had heard noise complaints from residents in her ward about the leaf blowers. Those neighbors recently formed a group called the Concerned Wesley Heights Neighbors, who complained about the leaf blowers publicly at a November Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting in their area.

The neighbors argued at the meeting that the equipment powered by gasoline is louder and pollutes more than other types of leaf blowers. Cheh told DCist that banning a piece of machinery that also may be harmful to the environment is an added benefit because she could not regulate the leaf blowers solely on their emissions.

“We couldn’t predicate the ban on the issue of emissions, but I got enthusiastic because those machines are big polluters,” Cheh said.

Cheh’s bill, which was co-sponsored by Ward 2 Council member Jack Evans, who represents Foggy Bottom, would prohibit the use of the lawn machinery after Jan. 1, 2022, giving a six-year window for D.C. residents to switch out their gasoline-powered blowers for electric ones. At that point, D.C. residents could face fines of up to $500 for using the banned blowers.

“If we could make life more peaceful and more environmentally friendly, I think we should do that,” Cheh told DCist. “It’s not a zero-sum game. It’s not this and nothing else.”

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