Seattle Council OKs plan to ban gas-powered leaf blowers

The new policy would require city workers, businesses and residents to use electric leaf blowers, rakes and brooms instead.

  • By Wire Service
  • Wednesday, September 7, 2022 4:05pm
  • Northwest
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Associated Press

SEATTLE — The Seattle City Council has voted unanimously to plan the phasing out of gasoline-powered leaf blowers for city departments and contractors by 2025 and businesses and residents by 2027, “or later, if necessary.”

The resolution passed Tuesday asks city departments to develop plans and design a public-education strategy around the transition, The Seattle Times reported.

The new policy would require city workers, as well as Seattle businesses and residents, to use electric leaf blowers, rakes and brooms instead.

The resolution asks city departments to conduct a racial equity analysis, gather input from landscaping companies, and consider financial incentives for those companies and low-income residents.

Councilmember Alex Pedersen sponsored the resolution, citing noise, health and environmental concerns.

“As we make the city government lead by example, there will be plenty of time for the private market to follow,” whether by using other tools “or just letting the leaves decompose naturally,” he said.

Seattle city departments own 418 gas-powered blowers and about 70 electric leaf blowers. Parks Department testing in 2019 showed that electric blowers could handle dry conditions.

Other cities, including Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., have outlawed gas-powered leaf blowers. L.A.’s ban has been sparsely enforced. D.C.’s ban is succeeding, a representative told the Seattle council last month.

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