New gasoline-powered lawn equipment banned in California in 2024 | Lost Coast Outpost

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New rules phasing out the manufacture of polluting lawn and garden equipment in 2024 were unanimously approved by the California Air Resources Board on Thursday despite opposition gardeners and landscapers.

Manufacturers must meet zero emission standards for new models of yard equipment, including weeders, lawn mowers, leaf blowers and small chainsaws, in three years. Residents and workers, however, can continue to use and repair their gas-powered equipment.

Gardeners and landscape associations raised concerns on the higher costs to buy the extra equipment and batteries needed for a day’s work.

“The cost of the transition would be significant and would likely kill my small business,” Elizabeth Burns, president of Torrance-based Zone 24 Landscaping Inc., said at the hearing. “Another problem is that the technology isn’t there yet for battery life and that’s super important.”

Additionally, under the new rules, new portable generators must meet more stringent emissions standards by 2024 and achieve zero emissions for generators in the 2028 model year.

“The cost of the transition would be significant and would likely kill my small business. “
– Elizabeth Burns, Zone 24 Landscaping, INC.

In a three-hour public hearing Thursday, much of the opposition came from industry and recreational vehicle owners, who urged the council, to no avail, to exempt their generators. Additionally, rural officials have warned that alternatives to portable generators are prohibitive and do not work properly.

“Power outages in rural areas are frequent, can last for several days and are becoming more and more common,” said Dave johnston, Air Pollution Control Officer for Eldorado County. “Forcing middle- to low-income rural residents to go without electricity for long periods of time to achieve small emission reductions in these areas that are already on track is unreasonable. “

During a presentation, Air Board staff said the longer lead time of an additional four years for portable generators would allow “manufacturers to develop models with more energy storage and delivery of energy. ‘energy”.

Small engines powering lawn equipment and portable generators are a surprisingly large source of air pollution in California, belching more smog-forming pollutants than cars and SUVs in California. Running a commercial leaf blower for an hour costs as much as driving 1,100 miles in a new car, roughly from Los Angeles to Denver, air commission reports.

Air Board officials estimate that 93% of equipment covered by the new standards would be zero-emission by 2035, compared to just 54% under current rules. The rule will prevent nearly 900 premature deaths through 2043, with health benefits expected to reach $ 8.82 billion – compensation expected costs of around $ 4 billion to achieve emissions, according to Air Board estimates.

Earlier this year, California lawmakers pass a law Calling for new state regulations to ban emissions from yard equipment and portable generators.

“These motors cause asthma, heart disease and increase the risk of cancer and premature death,” said Assembly Member Marc Berman, a Democrat from Los Altos who co-wrote the draft. law, during the hearing, reminding board members that California is home to seven of the Ten wettest cities in the country.

Yet, he said, “it is important to stress that the regulation is not a ban on use. No one should give up or stop using the equipment they already own.

The board also planned to vote on key rules that impose new smog controls for large trucks.

Lawn equipment rules build on existing regulations that have helped reduce emissions from small all-terrain engines A half over the past 20 years. But in the absence of new regulations, their emissions are expected to reach almost double that of cars and SUVs by 2031.

Rather, the rule is aimed at manufacturers, according to air board staff, and not gardeners and landscapers, who can continue to use and repair gasoline-powered equipment even after the new rules come into effect.

Manufacturers will be allowed to meet emissions standards using credits earned under the previous rules, meaning elimination will not be instantaneous.

Yet Jeff Coad, vice president of marketing and management at the manufacturer Briggs and Stratton, said the schedule is unrealistic for manufacturers and small businesses.

“The development time of each machine to go from power to gas to an electrified driveline can take two years” for each manufacturer, for each product, he said. And there has been limited commercial adoption due to several issues, he said. “The battery life, the lack of charging options in the field, the high cutting performance requirements and the very high price of electrified machines. ”

California regulators recognize that small business landscapers, which represent more than 99% of the state’s landscaping companies, can be significantly affected by the costs of the new rules.

“Buying brand new (zero emission equipment) in addition to batteries can be tedious. However, landscapers using (zero emission equipment) can realize net savings in the first few years after purchase due to lower fuel and maintenance costs, ” staff reported.

“We will need more incentive money. And we will ask that of the legislature and the governor.
– Bill Magavern, the Clean Air Coalition

To help, California lawmakers cut out $ 30 million offer incentives to small independent gardeners and landscaping companies to help cover the costs of transitioning to zero-emission equipment. The move follows similar incentive programs offered by regional air regulators in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley.

“What we have learned through these efforts is that zero-emission equipment is more readily available, but significant challenges remain and the large-scale deployment of this equipment,” said Tom Jordan of the Control District. of air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley. “This transition will not be easy, as it will require continuous technology assessment and will require significant new funding.”

Sandra Giarde, executive director of the California Landscape Contractors Association, urged the air council to extend the deadline for commercial users and called the rebates on the $ 30 million incentives “woefully inadequate.”

Construction and agricultural equipment such as large chainsaws and brush cutters used for fuel management and forest fire preparedness are exempt.

Bill Magavern, policy director of the Coalition for Clean Air, celebrated the new rule, warning that it is workers who suffer the worst consequences from emissions from gardening equipment. But he also recognized the cost.

“We believe that as you move forward you will need more incentive money,” said Magavern. “And we will ask that of the legislature and the governor.”

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CALmatters.org is a non-profit, non-partisan media company explaining California politics and politics.

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