Montgomery County Bans Sale and Use of Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers

Per Montgomery County: The Montgomery County Council enacted legislation today that will prohibit the sale and use of combustion engine-powered leaf blowers and leaf vacuums in most areas of the County. The vote was 10 – 1, with Council President Evan Glass, Vice President Andrew Friedson and Councilmembers Marilyn Balcombe, Natali Fani-González, Will Jawando, Sidney Katz, Dawn Luedtke, Kristin Mink, Laurie-Anne Sayles and Kate Stewart voting for the bill.  

Bill 18-22, Noise Control – Leaf Removal Equipment – Amendments, was proposed by County Executive Marc Elrich and introduced by Council President Evan Glass. As enacted by the Council, the effective date of the ban on the sale of gas-powered leaf blowers and vacuums will be July 1, 2024. The ban on the use of gas-powered leaf blowers and vacuums will go into effect on July 1, 2025. 

“Montgomery County is moving toward electric leaf blowers because it is an important step to address environmental, noise and health concerns in our community,” said Council President Glass, who also serves as chair of the Transportation and Environment Committee. “The legislation enacted by the Council today is one example of the many steps we are taking to help combat climate change, while also working with our small businesses to offset the initial fiscal impacts of going green. I want to thank County Executive Elrich and his team for sending this bill to the Council.”    

The legislation also authorizes the creation of a grant program that will be established by regulation to partially offset the cost of replacing a combustion engine-powered leaf blower or leaf vacuum with an electric model. Information about the grants will be available after the Council receives the proposed regulations. 

“This legislation is a good step forward toward meeting our climate goals,” said Councilmember Balcombe, who is a member of the Transportation and Environment Committee. “The bill has a lot of moving parts—as I said during our discussion, the devil is in the details. I’m glad that we took the time to discuss it thoroughly, so that we passed the best bill possible.” 

Under the legislation, the County Executive must transmit regulations to the Council to establish the reimbursement program no later than March 30, 2024.  The regulations will not go into effect until they are approved by the Council.  

“Today we took action to reduce disruptive, excessive and unhealthy noise in our communities, following our Climate Action Plan to reduce fossil emissions,” said Councilmember Stewart, who is also a member of the Transportation and Environment Committee. “We will work with our Department of Environmental Protection to ensure we have a robust incentive program that smooths the transition to electric leaf blowers, especially for our smallest landscapers.” 

Additionally, the bill exempts the use of gas leaf blower equipment for agricultural producers on agriculturally assessed properties, requires an annual report by the Department of Environmental Protection, and generally amends the law regarding noise control. 

“As the only immigrant on the Montgomery County Council, I am particularly proud to represent the many immigrants who do these incredibly tough and dangerous jobs,” said Councilmember Fani-González, who serves as chair of the Economic Development Committee. “Today’s vote shows that we are taking action to improve the health of landscape workers, as electric leaf blowers eliminate emissions that heighten respiratory conditions like asthma. These battery-powered blowers are effective and contribute to a healthier environment and improved air quality for all.” 

Retailers will be required to provide notice to customers on the forthcoming ban on combustion powered leaf blowers in Montgomery County. The County’s Department of Environmental Protection will provide the notice signs for retail businesses to use in their stores.  

The full staff report can be viewed here. 

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