Ban Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers, GPLB

They are loud, emit cancer causing VOCs and are a health hazard!

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TOWN OF SOMERSET BANS ALL GAS-POWERED BLOWERS STARTING September 1, 2022, joining other regional bans

Click to See Somerset Legislation

Background

As we continue to face a devastating pandemic and an ever worsening climate emergency with more frequent fires, flooding, and hurricanes worldwide, we are now surrounded by thousands of municipalities nationwide that are determined to create a sustainable future. Both Washington, DC and Montgomery County, Maryland now have aggressive green legislation in place, but there is much more to do before we can even get close to reversing global warming and our civilization’s ever increasing CO2 emissions. Towards these sustainable goals, Washington, DC has joined hundreds of municipalities (a partial list is here) both large and small (including the State of Hawaii) by banning gas-powered leaf blowers, and the Village of Chevy Chase, in Montgomery County, MD, has piggybacked the same legislation. Many other municipalities in Montgomery County, many of which were on the recent Leaf Blower Discussion Zoom Call (see below Zoom recording), are now focused on enforcing the same ban. The movement to ban these machines in Montgomery County is presented on this website,  which includes a  MoCo Ban Petition for you to sign, as well as a science and fact sheet. Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has already indicated that he wants to ban GPLBs in MoCo, and presently the MD Department of Environment Protection is in the process of drafting a bill for consideration. In light of the above, our towns, cities, and countries must choose to be a part of a sustainable future – that is safer for ourselves, our children, and our hired professionals – or continue unhealthy and non-sustainable practices of the past. In California, they are hoping to ban all gas-powered landscaping equipment by 2024!

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Flyers about Sustainable Garden Practices and Gas-Powered Leaf Blower Info – in English and Spanish (PLEASE DOWNLOAD):

The below two informative Zoom Forums have been summarized in the following flyers, which you can download, edit for your town, and share with your town residents and landscapers.

 

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Green Landscapers

Also, we encourage everyone to visit Chevy Chase Village’s website for quiet and green landscapers, including Backyard Bounty, The Greener Side and Solar Mowing.  FYI, approximately 85% of presently used gas-powered leaf blowers have a 70+ decibel rating, which is illegal in Montgomery County, MD, so transition to electric and battery powered leaf blowers are a sustainable alternative to consider, as well as a rake!

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TOS Environment Committee

Leaf Blower Forum #1:

On October 14, 2020, the Town of Somerset’s Environment Committee (Chevy Chase, Maryland) sponsored a  Zoom discussion (link below) on leaf blowing, which featured DC Advisory Neighborhood Commission Commissioner Chuck Elkins (minute 9:55), who spearheaded banning gas-powered leaf blowers in Washington, DC.  This ban will start on January 1, 2022. We also heard from Marea Hatziolos (minute 34:40 and 54:50), Co-Chair of the Environment and Energy Committee in Chevy Chase Village, who described how their town recently piggybacked the same legislation, starting on the same date. Since the pandemic has kept us all at home, the Environment Committee and Town Council Members have heard from dozens and dozens of residents through verbal and written correspondences about how leaf blowers are extremely loud and thus disruptive to one’s work at home and ability to relax outside. We have also recently discovered that around 85% of gas-powered leaf blowers used by our landscapers are actually rated above 70 db and are thus illegal to use according to Montgomery County Law, with specific info in Section 31B-9. These laws are supported by plenty of scientific evidence. In other words, these gas-powered leaf blowers, owned by landscapers, need to be retired immediately. Finally, we learned from Jamie Banks of Quiet Communities (minute 6:30) during the Zoom call that battery-powered leaf blowers are significantly less noisy than gas-powered leaf blowers, whose low frequency sounds unfortunately penetrate the neighborhood at large distances.

Zoom Meeting Recording

Click for PowerPoint Presentation to Ban GPLB

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TOS Environment Committee

Leaf Blower Forum #2:

On Dec 2, 2020, the Town of Somerset’s Environment Committee (Chevy Chase, Maryland) sponsored a  Zoom discussion (link below) on the hazards of gas-powered leaf blowing, which featured our town garden consultant Kelley Oklesson of Groundsmith Collective (minute 12:33), Kris Kirby of Backyard Bounty (minute 19:50), and John Shorb of Shorb Landscapers (minute 32:18). After short presentations as well as written testimony from two minority-owned landscape companies (minute 8:25), there were a lot of excellent questions and comments from the Town Council and Town of Somerset residents. 

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State of Maryland focuses on Banning

Gas Powered Leaf Blowers:

On Feb. 25, 2022, the State of Maryland had a hearing to discuss House Bill HB0934, introduced by Delegate Linda Foley and others. This Economic Matters Committee Hearing introduces and discusses the importance of the ban (starts at 1:15:52 to end), with oral testimony provided by MEP cofounder Barton Rubenstein at 1:54:50, as well as others.

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Please let us know if you have any questions: TOS.EnvironmentCommittee@gmail.com