City of Seattle to phase out gas leaf blowers by 2027
May 26, 2023, 3:22 PM | Updated: 3:22 pm
(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell signed a resolution Friday, directing all city departments to transition to electric leaf blowers no later than 2027.
The plan is in line with legislation passed by the city council in August of 2022. The resolution declares the city’s intent to stop using the devices by 2025 and gradually phase out the equipment among the public by 2027.
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“These gas-powered leaf blowers aren’t just a nuisance; they impact our neighborhoods – and the workers who operate them – through air and noise pollution,” said Mayor Harrell. “This effort provides our City government with another opportunity to lead by example and transition away from these machines, replacing them with options that are carbon-neutral, quieter, and safer for operators and residents alike.”
The City of Seattle currently owns 418 gas-powered leaf blowers, with the Department of Parks and Recreation possessing the greatest number. Parks and Recreation reported that alternatives, such as electric leaf blowers, are not powerful enough to function during the wet autumn months.
Starting in July, all new leaf blowers purchased by the city must be electric, and inventory and planning are now being conducted by the city to help complete the transition. The department has set a goal of electrifying half its leaf blowers by 2026.
The city is also looking for how they can best transition to using electric vehicles to allow for charging in the field, identifying efficiencies in landscape practices to minimize the need for leaf-blowers, and upgrading electrical capacity at City-owned facilities.
The Department of Finance and Administrative Services and the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections will enforce the ban.
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“As gas-fueled leaf blowers continue to imperil public health, I’m heartened by our Mayor directing all city government departments to implement both the proviso and key portions of my Resolution, as adopted by the City Council to equitably phase out these harmful machines as soon as possible,” said Councilmember Alex Pedersen, who chairs the Transportation & Seattle Public Utilities Committee.
Across the United States, over 170 jurisdictions in 31 states have some type of restriction on the use of gas-powered leaf blowers. Washington D.C., for example, has banned their use outright. California will implement a similar restriction in 2024.