California Becomes First State in the Nation to Phase Out Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers

Governor Newsom signs legislation to ban the sale of new gas-powered small-off-road engines beginning in 2024Governor Newsom signs legislation to ban the sale of new gas-powered small-off-road engines beginning in 2024

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom has signed landmark legislation to phase out the sale of new gas-powered small off-road engines (SORE) in California. The new law, which affects gas-powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers, was introduced by Assemblymembers Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park) and Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) in response to projections that smog-forming pollution from SORE will surpass that from passenger cars this year. Berman and Gonzalez secured $30 million in the state’s budget to create a statewide incentive program to help landscaping businesses transition to zero-emission equipment.

“By signing AB 1346, Governor Newsom has made good on his commitment to a clean energy future that protects the health of all Californians—including workers who face disproportionate health risks from air pollution,” said Assemblymember Marc Berman. “Coupled with $30 million in zero-emission incentives, we are ensuring an equitable transition to clean technology. I want to thank Governor Newsom for signing this landmark legislation to protect people and our planet.”

“Small gas engines are not only bad for our environment and contributing to our climate crisis, they can cause asthma and other health issues for workers who use them,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. “It’s time we phased out these super polluters, and help small landscaping businesses transition to cleaner alternatives.”

AB 1346 would require the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to set emissions requirements for small off-road engines to zero by 2024 or whenever CARB determines is feasible. Small off-road engines emit high levels of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), reactive organic gases (ROG), and particulate matter (PM), which adversely impact human health, causing lung cancer, heart disease, strokes, asthma, and other respiratory ailments. A 2018 study by the California Air Resources Board found that operators of gas-powered devices could potentially double their current cancer risk from volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

What Others Are Saying:

“AB 1346 will protect Californians’ health by cleaning up the shockingly high pollution from small off-road engines like leaf blowers and lawn mowers,” said Bill Magavern, policy director of the Coalition for Clean Air. “We thank Assemblymembers Berman and Gonzalez and the many co-authors, as well as Governor Newsom, for putting public health first.”

“Californians face the most difficult air pollution challenges in the United States, and small off-road engines are a growing source of this health burden,” said Will Barrett, senior director of clean air advocacy with the American Lung Association. “By signing AB 1346 into law, Governor Newsom is accelerating a zero-emissions pathway to healthier air and healthier lungs.”

“AB 1346 recognizes that California must address the significant air pollution created by gas-powered equipment and off-road engines,” said Erin Rodriguez with Union of Concerned Scientists. “This bill will help achieve the emissions reductions needed to improve our air quality and meet our state’s climate goals.”

“AB 1346 will curb toxic pollution in California neighborhoods by addressing emissions from leaf blowers, lawn mowers and other small off-road engines,” said Daniel Barad, policy advocate with Sierra Club California. “This bill is another important step towards breathable air and a livable climate in California.”

 

Contact: Kaitlin Curry, kaitlin.curry@asm.ca.gov