Democrat lawmakers in Washington State want to jail residents for using gas-powered landscaping tools such as leaf blowers and edgers.
State Rep. Amy Walen (D-Kirkland) has pre-filed legislation which would radically alter the state’s Clean Air Act, according to Jason Rantz of MyNorthwest, who reports that HB 1868 would ban “gasoline-powered and diesel-powered landscaping and other outdoor power equipment” for “contributing to climate change.”
As Rantz further explains, the bill contains a laundry list of unintended health consequences tied to the tools as well, including a claim that they cause asthma.
The bill gets to the ban by empowering the Department of Ecology to “adopt rules to prohibit engine exhaust and evaporative emissions from new outdoor power equipment” by either January 1, 2026 or sooner, if the state determines it’s feasible to do so earlier. Washingtonians are expected to upgrade their equipment to zero-emission alternatives. Government work, however, is partly exempt.
To make the transition more palatable, the zero-emission alternatives would not be subject to a sales tax. But it would still be prohibitively expensive for many small businesses. -MyNorthwest
If a resident violates the law, they could face up to a year in jail and/or a hefty fine.
Of course, as Rantz further notes, the new law wouldn’t apply to government agencies or contractors working for the government under emergency circumstances.
We’ll give the last word to Rantz, who suggests that the legislation will harm minorities the most;
What happened to equity?
Though Democrats argue their legislation should be viewed through an equity lens, this ban has a disproportionate impact on Latino and black business owners. Nationwide data stated 22.8% of landscaping companies are owned by Hispanics and 14.7% are owned by blacks.
The cost to transition to zero-emission alternatives is burdensome, too, even with financial assistance provided in the bill. For some businesses, it could still be prohibitively expensive. This financial burden could disproportionately affect minority-owned businesses, potentially leading to a reduction in diversity within the industry, if Democrat talking points are to be believed.
This ban is also anti-business, of course. Not only will it take landscapers significantly more time to do the same amount of work, thanks to inefficient battery-powered tools, it can be very expensive. Writing in the Orange County Register, Brooke Staggs notes the strain this can put on small businesses: “Commercial-grade electric-powered gear can cost anywhere from 15% to 300% more upfront, before factoring in the cost of batteries, chargers and potential electrical upgrades needed to keep them running all day.”
Larger companies can more easily absorb the cost of transitioning to electric equipment, but the smaller businesses, which represent the majority of the industry, will struggle. It’s also worth considering the current limitations of electric landscaping equipment, such as battery life and power, which can’t meet the demands of larger or more intensive landscaping projects. Even with tax credits, will they last long enough to cover the constant need to upgrade to better and more efficient technology?