Local Group Seeks a More Equitable Ban on Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers

A group of San Diego residents says it is making progress toward banning gas-powered leaf blowers across the county.

The group, San Diegans for Sustainable, Equitable & Quiet Equipment in Landscaping (SD-SEQUEL), was formed in May and is led by La Jolla resident Carolyn Marsden and Sierra Club representative Ron Askeland, the La Jolla Light reported.

SD-SEQUEL has submitted a letter to the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District urging it to seek funds for a trade-in or buy-back program. The group also meets on Zoom to work on draft ordinance that would implement such a program to help those throughout the county transition to electric leaf blowers.

In its letter to the APCD, the group applauded Assembly Bill 1346, which was recently signed into law and will ban the sale of new gas-powered lawn mowers, chainsaws, and leaf blowers as early as 2024.

However, SD-SEQUEL called it “inequitable” to leave the burden of converting to electric equipment on landscapers alone. The letter contends that a trade-in or buy-back program should offer at least 75 percent of the cost of new electric equipment.

In the letter, the group also detailed its primary objections to the use of gas-powered leaf blowers, including the fact that pollution from a leaf blower run for an hour is comparable to driving a newer vehicle for 1,100 miles.

Additionally, the letter states that the dust stirred up by leaf blowing equipment also contains contaminants that could increase the risk of asthma, cardiovascular disease, premature birth, or other critical health conditions.

The group hopes to submit its formal draft ordinance to both city and county officials by January 2022.

About the author: Mike Peterson is a freelance journalist and writer based in North San Diego County. He’s written and worked for a number of local media outlets, including the San Diego Union-Tribune, the North Coast Current, and the Oceanside Blade.

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