Lawn battle: proposed gasoline lawn mower ban sparks debate | Local News

ALBANY – The push for green technologies has spread, with several lawmakers now calling for a measure that would require all lawn mowers and leaf blowers sold in New York to be zero-emission devices by 2027.

The legislation, drafted by Senator Peter Harckham of D-Westchester County, calls on state agencies to develop a plan by February 2023 to phase out gasoline-powered devices used in grounds maintenance. Chippers, chippers and edgers are also covered by the proposal

The New York bill mirrors legislation passed this year in California, where environmental activists have argued that small gasoline engines have made a disproportionate contribution to global warming and air pollution.

But the legislation receives a decidedly cold reception from some upstate lawmakers who say it is intended to create hardship for lawn service operators and homeowners, especially those who maintain large residential lots in rural parts of the state.

State Senator Peter Oberacker, of R-Otsego County, recalled trying to mow his large lawn with a battery-powered lawn mower, pointing out that he was so frustrated with the machine that he was quickly reverted to a more robust gasoline machine.

“The intent of this legislation may be lofty, but when you dive into it you will see that it would impose excessive costs on our businesses and, frankly, our municipalities,” Oberacker said.

Shaun Pangman, owner of Pangman Outdoor Power store in Cobleskill, said the cost of a battery-operated zero-spin lawn mower can be several times that of a comparable gasoline machine. A gasoline-powered chain saw can cost around $ 300 while a battery saw designed for the same jobs would cost around $ 1,000, he noted.

“It’s a horrible idea,” Pangman said of the Albany legislation. “It would not only hurt the rich who have their lawns mowed by professional landscapers, who would raise their prices, but it would also hurt the poor who would mow their own lawns, because they could not afford the equipment.”

Harckham predicts that the conversion to zero-emission floor care equipment could be completed quickly.

“The environmental benefits of zero-emission turf appliances are numerous, and as more communities in New York City seek to ban or partially ban gasoline-powered appliances, the switch to electrical equipment, which is certainly quieter in the world. use, will take place quickly statewide, ”the senator said in a statement.

Its measure cites an Audubon Society magazine article which states that “gasoline lawn care of all kinds spits out pollutants linked to cancer, heart disease and asthma, and blowers blow air up. at 280 miles an hour, eroding the topsoil and sending pollen, fertilizers and herbicides adrift. “

The measurement also shows that some gasoline-powered lawn care machines make as much noise as a plane taking off, which increases the risk of hearing loss after long exposure.

United States Representative Elise Stefanik of R-Saratoga County, raised earlier this year as Speaker of the House Minorities Conference, said Democrats promoting the legislation were out of touch with the New- North Yorker.

“No one supports this policy,” Stefanik said, predicting that the Democratic agenda will help trigger “a huge red wave” in the election in New York in 2022.

In western New York State, Assembly Member Angelo Morinello, of R-Niagara Falls, said that while he supports environmental conservation efforts, “this is going a bit too much. far “.

Morinello also said New York should reduce the tendency to duplicate measures from the emerging state in California.

“Adding another expense to people just doesn’t make sense,” he said.

Harckham’s Bill proposes that the State Civil Service Commission and other agencies “strive to ensure that these zero-emission lawn care devices are affordable so that people in low-income communities. income and disadvantaged have access to such devices ”.

To amortize expenses related to the purchase of electrical equipment, commercial landscapers and institutional users would be eligible for the discounts offered, under legislation introduced by Senator Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan, and MP Steve Englebright, D -Long Island.

This bill provides point-of-sale rebates totaling up to $ 15,000 per year for commercial landscapers and up to $ 300 per year for individuals who purchase battery-powered electrical equipment, such as weeders or lawn mowers.

Yet another measure, proposed by Assembly Member Jeff Dinowitz, D-the Bronx, and Sen. John Liu, D-Queens, calls for fines of up to $ 100 for anyone using a gas blower or gas blower. gas from May 1 to September 30. The use of such equipment would be prohibited year-round on Sundays as well as federal and state holidays.

Harckham’s legislation argues that continued use of gasoline-powered landscaping machines could undermine the state’s progress in achieving emission reductions.

“Without swift and innovative action, we risk missing out on defined targets and worsening the severity of the climate change experienced,” the bill says.

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