DC Councilwoman Wants To Ban Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers

Josh Fatzick | Reporter

Gas-powered leaf blowers may soon be illegal to purchase or use in the District of Columbia if one council member gets her way.

D.C. Council Member Mary Cheh introduced legislation at Tuesday’s legislative session that would, if enacted, punish any business that sells a leaf blowers to a city resident and any person who uses a leaf blower.

According to Cheh, the gas-powered blowers are far noisier and environmentally damaging than their electric counterparts, and since electric leaf blowers are becoming more affordable, the time has come to ban their use.

“It’s time to begin to phase out the use of gasoline powered leaf blowers in the District of Columbia,” she said in introducing the bill.

Since the council isn’t empowered to regulate environmental emissions, Cheh’s Leaf Blower Regulation Amendment Act of 2016 would re-write the city’s noise laws and hit anyone who violates the leaf blower ban with a $500 fine.

Business owners wouldn’t be forbidden from selling gas-powered leaf blowers, since they could be used outside of the city, but they must “provide conspicuous notice to the consumer that the leaf blower may not be used in the District of Columbia.”

Cheh said she had heard complaints from many residents who were opposed to the use of leaf blowers because they are too loud.

“They complain of noise pollution so significant it keeps them from working outside or enjoying the peace and quiet of their homes,” she said.

Kelly Whittier, a spokeswoman for Cheh, told The Daily Caller News Foundation businesses like landscapers, which rely on gas-powered leaf blowers to cover large areas, would also fall under the purview of the law.

She admitted that the business owners may be adversely affected, but “we also have to weigh the environmental factors and the noise violations that might also be affected by [the leaf blowers],” she said.

Whittier said the owners of those businesses will have the opportunity to testify in front of the council about the new law’s effects at a later date.

The legislation was referred to the Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, where Chairman Vincent Orange will decide its fate. It faces several rounds of hearings before it will be put the council for a vote.

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