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DC Council moves forward with gas-powered leaf blower ban bill

"It's time to phase out the use of these noisy, polluting leaf blowers in the District in favor of cleaner, quieter alternatives," Councilmember Cheh said.

WASHINGTON -- A bill introduced originally by Councilmember Mary Cheh to ban the sale and use of gas blower leaf blowers was voted on unanimously to move forward to the November 13 legislative session.

On Tuesday, Councilmember Cheh testified that phasing out the use of these leaf blowers will have a “considerable effect on the air quality” in the District.

She also said that these leaf blowers also cause noise pollution, preventing residents from working effectively, and get more complaints than electric leaf blowers.

“It’s time to phase out the use of these noisy, polluting leaf blowers in the District in favor of cleaner, quieter alternatives,” Cheh said.

The bill, which had been introduced in 2017, would amend the District of Columbia Noise Control Act of 1977.

RELATED: DC City Council postpones vote on short-term rental bill

As Cheh pointed out on Tuesday, it would have a long phase-in period, to allow the phasing out of gas leaf blowers, with implementation in 2022.

Chairman Mendelson asked for a financial impact statement will be issued prior to the first reading in November.

In July, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Melina Bolling testified to the Council about her concerns about the bill. She explained that leaf blowers aren’t used long enough for her DCRA to effectively respond to complaints about gas ones being used. She also expressed concern that the bill would be perceived as a threat to workers in the landscaping industry.

According to the bill, violators will be charged with a fine that won’t exceed $500.

November 13’s legislative session is now expected to address both the leaf blower bill as well as a bill on short-term rentals, among others.

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