And silence fell upon the land.
The Irvine City Council has voted to get a jump on state law and ban gas-powered leafblowers and landscaping equipment in the City, beginning next year. Councilmembers also voted to establish a financial assistance program to help Irvine-based landscapers acquire electric equipment to replace the gas-powered tools they currently use.
In 2021, the state Legislature passed a pair of laws, signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, to ban the sale of new gas-powered leafblowers; lawn mowers; hedge trimmers; chain saws; string trimmers; and edgers as of January 1, 2024.
The expectation was that these items would — over the next four to six years — be replaced by their battery-powered counterparts, through attrition.
The Irvine ordinance takes a more active approach. It will ban the use of gas-powered leafblowers in the City as of July 1, 2024, and the use of the other gas-powered equipment as of January 1, 2025.
During the November 28th Council meeting, Councilmember Larry Agran moved to adopt the motion, which passed on a 4-1 vote. (Councilmember Mike Carroll voted against the motion.)
To help with the accelerated transition, the Council also voted 4-1 (with Carroll opposed) to partner with the South Coast Air Quality Management District in establishing a program for Irvine landscapers to receive grants to pay for the new electric tools they’ll need. The fund will have an initial $150,000 put up by the City with potentially more later, depending on the demand.
The ordinance drew widespread support from public speakers during the November 28th and prior Council meetings. “It [gas-powered lawn equipment] is a source of pollution and noise that we’ve put up with long enough and it’s time that we stop doing it,” said Irvine resident Tom Mason. “It poisons the operators of the equipment, it poisons our citizens, and it drowns out the joyful sounds of our City.”
After the meeting, Councilmember Agran said: “I’m very gratified that we’ve finally taken on this issue and dealt with it in a way that provides near-term relief to our residents while not burdening small landscaping business operators who are trying to make a living.”
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