Democratic lawmakers have sent Gov. Gavin Newsom a bill which would heavily restrict the usage of gas-powered landscaping equipment in California. The legislation, Assembly Bill 1346, would slowly eliminate the sale of all small off-road engines (SOREs) in the state.
The bill would earmark $30 million in the state budget to help small businesses purchase zero-emission replacements, which experts say would be more expensive than what small businesses currently use.
This move, if signed into law, could also ban the sale of portable generators as early as 2024 in the state. California is a state commonly known to be prone to power outages and heat waves.
Additionally, California boasts one of the nation’s highest population of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeper first-line workers. These are people who operate SORE machines on a day-to-day basis for their jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state has over 10,000 workers who fall into this category. AB-1346 could throw a wrench into this whole industry if passed.
“This bill would require the state board, by July 1, 2022, consistent with federal law, to adopt cost-effective and technologically feasible regulations to prohibit engine exhaust and evaporative emissions from new small off-road engines, as defined by the state board,” the legislation reads.
Democratic Assemblyman Marc Berman sponsored the bill and argued that these SORE machines are too deadly to the environment to be left unchecked.
“Leaf blowers, lawn mowers, and other equipment with small gas-powered engines emit staggering levels of air pollution,” said Berman. “These noisy machines are terribly disruptive to communities across California, and the workers who breathe in exhaust from this equipment day in and day out face disproportionate health risks.”
Republican California State Sen. Brian W. Jones blasted the legislation for the possible consequences it would have on people who use SOREs not only day-to-day, but also casually to upkeep their property.
While the wealthy may be able to afford luxurious, electric gardening equipment, small gardener businesses will be absolutely devastated by #AB1346‘s ban on gas leaf blowers and lawnmowers.
Sacramento’s micromanagement is out of control. I voted NO. pic.twitter.com/lRQFDjQWgP
— Brian W. Jones (@SenBrianJones) September 8, 2021
Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk asserted that the bill missed the mark and should target the organizations responsible for forest fires rather than small business.
Bad Dem bill #AB1346 makes life harder for landscapers.
Banning the sale of new gas powered leaf blowers & mowers?
They’re not “super polluters,” but massive wildfires fueled by poor forest management sure are.
Why not address those instead of picking on the little guy? pic.twitter.com/oOmCJ3AwZe
— Scott Wilk (@ScottWilkCA) September 9, 2021