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Dem state cracks down on gas-powered lawn equipment as part of climate crusade

Environmental regulators in Colorado voted unanimously to prohibit the use of gas-powered lawn equipment on state property as part of the state's climate agenda.

Colorado state environmental regulators unanimously approved a measure to crack down on certain uses of gas-powered lawn equipment as part of the state's broader climate push.

In an 8-0 vote, the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) green-lit regulations that prohibit gas-powered lawn and garden equipment from being used on public property statewide. Under the finalized rules, the ban will be enforced beginning in 2025 and, according to the Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG), represents the first effort of its kind in the nation.

"Given the significant pollution generated by gas-powered lawn equipment and the severe air pollution problem in our region, I’m glad the state is taking action to accelerate the switch to cleaner, quieter electric lawn equipment," said Kirsten Schatz, the clean air advocate at CoPIRG, which pushed for the measure. "This vote is the first step toward eliminating this unnecessary source of harmful air pollution."

"It doesn’t make sense to allow air pollution that damages our health when we cut grass or blow leaves – especially when cleaner, quieter electric options are readily available," Schatz continued. "Soon, Coloradans won’t have to worry about fumes or obnoxious noise from gas-powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers when they head to public parks."

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She added that the action will "allow more people to enjoy a lovely summer day."

CoPIRG — an affiliate of the left-wing U.S. Public Interest Research Group — published a report in October showing that gas-powered lawn mowers, string trimmers, leaf blowers and chainsaws produce a large amount of air pollution and noise. The report estimated that, in 2020, the appliances generated 671 tons of fine particulate air pollution in Colorado, the equivalent of more than 7 million cars in a year.

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The so-called Regulation 29 approved by the AQCC largely adopts recommendations outlined by CoPIRG, including calling for state and local governments to lead by example and ban gas-powered equipment on public properties.

Overall, the AQCC's regulatory action bans gas-powered landscaping tools under 25 horsepower on state property during the summer months every year between June and August. And it directs the state's Air Pollution Control Division to track the market share of electric lawn equipment and to consider regulations restricting commercial use of such equipment and prohibiting economy-wide sales of such equipment.

The commission's action comes months after Democrat Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order directing state agencies to reduce air pollution in their operations. The order specifically calls for agencies to phase out gas-powered, push and handheld lawn and garden equipment used at state facilities.

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"I always want to ensure that our state government is leading by example when it comes to pressing issues like the housing crisis, workforce and job creation, and now we are doubling down on our commitment to lead the way in reducing pollution," Polis said after signing the order in September. "We are doing our part to save people money, protect water and our planet."

"Colorado is leading the nation on commonsense ways to reduce pollution and ensure Colorado can thrive," the governor continued.

The move was applauded by Democrat state Rep. Cathy Kipp, who chairs the House Energy and Environment Committee, and Democrat state Sen. Faith Winter, who chairs the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee.

"I am pleased to see Colorado leading by example as we transition toward a more sustainable future," Kipp said.

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