In Washington, Democrats are pushing for a new environmental measure that could drastically change yard maintenance routines. State Representative Amy Walen has introduced HB 1868, aiming to amend the Washington State Clean Air Act by banning gasoline and diesel-powered landscaping tools, including leaf blowers, due to their contribution to climate change.
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The proposed legislation is not just about encouraging greener practices; it carries a hefty penalty for violators who could face up to a year in jail or a $10,000 fine. The bill highlights health concerns linked to gas-powered tools, such as asthma, and mandates the Department of Ecology to enforce the ban on engine exhaust and evaporative emissions from new outdoor equipment by January 1, 2026.
Interestingly, the bill allows exemptions for government agencies or their contractors during emergencies or in the absence of viable zero-emission alternatives. To promote the transition, it proposes a temporary suspension of sales and use taxes on zero-emission landscaping equipment until January 1, 2030.
This move by Washington Democrats follows similar initiatives in California and Minnesota, targeting new gas-powered equipment while permitting the use of existing tools. California Governor Gavin Newsom has already enacted a law banning the sale of gas-powered leaf blowers and lawnmowers starting in 2024. Similarly, Ann Arbor and Washington D.C. have implemented bans on gasoline-powered leaf blowers, setting a precedent for environmental legislation in urban landscaping.