Clean Air Advocate, CoPIRG
Clean Air Advocate, CoPIRG
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 11, 2023
DENVER – With just 21 days until the start of our next ozone season, Gov. Polis signed a bill into law Thursday that will help reduce ozone pollution from lawn and garden equipment, as well as establish several other measures aimed at further reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the state.
Sponsored by Senator Hansen and Representatives McCormick and Sirota, SB23-016 creates a tax credit for retailers to reduce the up-front price for consumers by 30% on electric-powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers, trimmers and snow blowers. Consumers should start to see discounted equipment on store shelves at participating retailers starting in early 2024.
Pound for pound, gas-powered lawn and garden equipment produce much more pollution than many people realize. Operating a commercial, gas-powered leaf blower for just one hour emits as much ozone-forming pollution as driving a car 1,100 miles.
By encouraging discounts at the point of sale on cleaner, electric- and battery-powered lawn and garden equipment, the program set up by SB 16 is expected to accelerate the transition away from gas-powered equipment, thereby reducing the ozone pollution attributed to this sector. By fully shifting away from gas-powered lawn and garden equipment, the north Front Range region can achieve nearly 20% of the reduction needed to meet national health-based air quality standards for ozone.
CoPIRG Clean Air Advocate Kirsten Schatz released the following statement:
“We applaud the bill sponsors for getting SB23-016 passed, and the governor for signing it into law. We have a serious ozone problem in our state and need to use every solution available for cutting this harmful pollution. Gas-powered lawn and garden machines may be small, but they produce a shockingly large amount of pollution, so creating incentives to shift towards cleaner, electric equipment is a smart move. Every pound of ozone-forming pollution that we can prevent from entering our air matters for our health and quality of life.
This is especially important because the American Lung Association’s latest State of the Air report revealed Denver is now the 6th worst city in the nation for high ozone days, up from 7th; Fort Collins is 15th worst; and Colorado Springs has now joined the list of the 25 worst cities for ozone nationwide. This highlights the urgent need for statewide action on ozone.
With grass and gardens growing across the Front Range, this new law is a great reminder that a future is within reach where mowing your grass and maintaining your garden doesn’t involve spewing a lot of harmful pollution into our air.”
Reducing pollution from lawn and garden equipment is one of nine action areas in CoPIRG’s Ozone Agenda, a package of policy ideas that address ozone across multiple sectors – from lawn and garden equipment to transportation to oil & gas and more.
In recent years, Colorado has suffered from some of the highest ozone pollution in the country. Breathing ozone can cause harmful health effects including lung damage, worsening of existing respiratory conditions such as asthma and cardiovascular disease.