California Governor Gavin Newsom cripples the state’s landscaping industry by signing into law Assembly Bill No. 1346 moves to outlaw the sales of small gas-powered motors.
Assembly Bill No. 1346 follows Newsom’s 2020 executive order prohibiting the sale of all gas-powdered vehicles by 2035. According to the AP, “state officials say running a gas-powered leaf blower for one hour emits the same amount of pollution as driving a 2017 Toyota Camry from Los Angeles to Denver, a distance of about 1,100 miles.” The law prohibits the sale of small gas-powered off-road engines on or after January 1, 2024, or as soon as state regulators determine it is “feasible,” whichever date is later.
The law requires regulators to offer rebates to those California residents switching to a zero-emission alternative. In addition, according to The Hill, $30 million is allocated to support professional landscapers in making the switch.
Assemblyman Marc Berman (D-Silicon Valley), the bill’s author, told LA Times:
This is a pretty modest approach to trying to limit the massive amounts of pollution that this equipment emits, not to mention the health impact on the workers who are using it constantly.
California’s increased costs to small businesses, along with the widespread blackouts, are cited as significant flaws in the law by critics. Andrew Bray, National Association of Landscape Professionals VP of government relations, states the cost of zero-emission equivalents cost more than double the gas-powered lawnmowers costing $7,000 to $11,000.
According to the LA Times, Bray also said, “a three-person landscaping crew will need to carry 30 to 40 fully charged batteries to power its equipment during a full day’s work,” which is another significant expense for California landscaping businesses.
Sen. Brian Dahle (R-CA) said, “This Legislature hates fuel, which is very sustainable. It’s easy to access. And when the power is off, you can still use it. You can still run a generator to keep your freezer going, to keep your medical devices going. But when your battery’s dead, and there’s no power on, you have nothing.” Dahle’s criticism stems from the blackouts which affect the state during wildfire season.