2022 | Government

County Council introduces legislation banning gas-powered leaf blowers

Partial credit would be available to those who return gas-powered leaf blower and buy an electric one

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The Montgomery County Council has proposed a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers, similar to bans that have been enacted in Chevy Chase Village and Washington, D.C.

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The Montgomery County Council introduced legislation on Tuesday that would ban gas-powered leaf blowers to address environmental, noise and health concerns. 

The bill would “prohibit the sale and use of combustion engine-powered leaf blowers and leaf vacuums,” according to the text. 

Montgomery County’s noise ordinance mandates that leaf blowers can’t exceed 70 decibels at a distance of 50 feet. The bill states that there were more than 60 complaints to the county’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in 2021 due to noise from leaf blowers.

The bill states that the sale of the leaf blowers would be banned six months after the legislation is enacted, and the use of the leaf blowers would be prohibited one year after it is enacted.

The bill would also authorize DEP to create a reimbursement program, which would give a “partial credit” to residents and businesses who return their gas-powered leaf blower or vacuum to the county and buy an electric leaf blower. The credit would apply to those who bought the gas-powered leaf blower before a certain date.

Under the bill, someone could be subject to a fine of as much as $1,000 if they are caught using a combustible leaf blower or vacuum.

A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for Sept. 20.

County Executive Marc Elrich’s administration had floated the idea last year as a part of the county’s Climate Action Plan, which aims to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in the county by 2035 and cut them 80% by 2027. Elrich sent the bill to the council requesting that it be introduced.

The proposed leaf blower ban follows the lead of Chevy Chase Village and Washington, D.C., which had similar bans take effect Jan. 1.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com