Healthy Air

Colorado air quality board votes to consider further cuts from dirty lawn tools

Commission will consider proposals on cutting ozone pollution from gas-powered lawn equipment this fall and vote in December.

Clean air

The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) voted this morning to approve a “request for rulemaking” for Regulation 29, which includes proposals to further cut pollution from the lawn and garden sector.

Gas-powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers and more lack basic emissions controls and are extremely polluting. Operating a commercial leaf blower for just one hour can result in as much ozone-forming emissions as driving a car 1,100 miles. A 2022 CoPIRG Foundation report showed that fully shifting the lawn and garden sector in the Denver Metro/North Front Range region away from gas-powered equipment could achieve nearly 20% of the cuts needed to bring ozone concentrations in compliance with the Clean Air Act.

In her Sept. 20 public comment encouraging commissioners to approve the request for rulemaking on this measure, CoPIRG Foundation Clean Air Advocate Kirsten Schatz pointed out that:

“… cleaner, quieter electric tools that get the job done are readily available. So much so that retailers are already preparing for the shift in this direction – for example, Home Depot says 85% of their outdoor equipment sales will be electric by 2028. The market is also getting ready for the California small engines rule, which goes into effect in just a few months. This stuff is ready for prime time. There are financial incentives available to help us make the switch possible.

… We don’t have to continue to accept harmful pollution and mind-numbing noise as an inevitable byproduct of cutting grass and maintaining our landscapes. Doing as much as possible to shift our region away from highly polluting gas-powered equipment, as quickly as possible, will make our air safer to breathe.”

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