Will Vermont follow California and ban gas-powered leafblowers and chainsaws?

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, YouTube photo

By Guy Page

Will Vermont follow California and ban gas-powered leafblowers, chainsaws, and other “off-road engines”?

On October 9, recall escapee Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law AB1346, which by next July will “prohibit engine exhaust and evaporative emissions from new small off-road engines.” Batteries and muscles will replace fossil fuels as the energy source for cutting wood and moving leaves. 

“One hour of operation of a commercial leaf blower can emit as much ROG [reactive organic gases] plus NOx [oxides of nitrogen] as driving 1,100 miles in a new passenger vehicle,” AB1346 states in its opening paragraph. 

Vermont already has at least one municipal leaf-blower ban. In April, the Burlington City Council announced a ban on summertime commercial use that will extend to personal use by next summer. Like the California law, the Burlington ban has a ‘buy-back’ feature.

Representatives of the landscaping industry in both Burlington and California complained – to no avail – the bans will create manpower problems and raise consumer costs. 

On the state level, an off-road engine (ORE) ban would likely come from either the Legislature or the Vermont Climate Council.

The Vermont Legislature has a record for passing cutting-edge (in the progressive, if not the power tool, use of the word) legislation first approved in California. Vermont Daily Chronicle has reached out to members of the House Transportation and Energy and Technology committees for their opinion and comments about AB1346.

One Energy and Technology committee said the Climate Council recommendations would need legislative approval. “This idea [off-road engine ban] has not been raised to my knowledge,” Rep. Mike Yantachka (D-Charlotte) said. “We await the [Vermont] Climate Council recommendations and will evaluate them for needed legislation.”

E&T Committee Vice-Chair Laura Sibilia (I-Dover) strongly supports the transition away from fossil fuels, she explained in her response this morning:

“Of course the California General Assembly members were elected by their communities and districts and Governor Newsom by the people of California. And if I’m not mistaken, he was just reassured that he has the support of the majority of Californian voters in the recall election. So it sounds like the majority of the people of California are in favor of this legislation.

“I’m really concerned that your fundamental misunderstanding of what is actually happening related to fossil fuel switching is feeding into other sources of misinformation and will aid in keeping our poor and rural communities poor.

“Vermonters who can afford to shift off of fossil fuels have done so and more are doing so every day. Many undoubtably recognize the moral imperative we have to our kids and the planet. But even more are simply protecting their wealth and assets by switching off fossil fuels. They know that pricing is unstable, that we live in a global fuel economy, and that as more and more countries (and states like California) switch fuels, it’s going to become more expensive and less convenient to keep using fossil fuels.

“I’m in favor of helping as many low income and rural working people as possible switch fuel sources as fast as possible.”

As Yantachka mentioned, any proposed ORE ban is likely to begin in the Vermont Climate Council, created by the Legislature last year to reduce emissions 26% below 2005 levels by 2025 and 80% by 2050. Gov. Phil Scott recently said the appointed Climate Council is empowered to enact carbon-cutting measures – such as joining the carbon-taxing regional Climate and Transportation Initiative – and he can’t stop it

The Climate Council is appointed and therefore is not directly accountable to voters. The 103 lawmakers who voted to override Gov. Scott’s veto of the Global Warming Solutions Act that created the Climate Council are:

Ancel of Calais
Anthony of Barre City
Austin of Colchester
Bartholomew of Hartland *
Birong of Vergennes
Bock of Chester
Briglin of Thetford *
Brownell of Pownal
Browning of Arlington
Brumsted of Shelburne
Burke of Brattleboro *
Campbell of St. Johnsbury
Carroll of Bennington
Chase of Colchester
Chesnut-Tangerman of
Middletown Springs
Christensen of Weathersfield
Christie of Hartford
Cina of Burlington
Gardner of Richmond
Giambatista of Essex
Gonzalez of Winooski
Grad of Moretown
Haas of Rochester
Hashim of Dummerston
Hill of Wolcott
Hooper of Montpelier
Hooper of Randolph
Hooper of Burlington
Houghton of Essex
Howard of Rutland City
James of Manchester
Jerome of Brandon
Jessup of Middlesex
Johnson of South Hero
Killacky of South Burlington
Kimbell of Woodstock
Kitzmiller of Montpelier
O’Brien of Tunbridge
Ode of Burlington *
O’Sullivan of Burlington
Pajala of Londonderry
Partridge of Windham
Patt of Worcester
Potter of Clarendon
Pugh of South Burlington
Rachelson of Burlington
Ralph Watson of Hartland
Redmond of Essex
Reed of Braintree
Rogers of Waterville
Scheu of Middlebury
Sheldon of Middlebury
Sibilia of Dover
Squirrell of Underhill
Stevens of Waterbury
Sullivan of Dorset
Coffey of Guilford
Colburn of Burlington
Colston of Winooski
Conlon of Cornwall
Conquest of Newbury
Copeland Hanzas of Bradford
Corcoran of Bennington
Cordes of Lincoln
Demrow of Corinth
Dolan of Waitsfield
Donovan of Burlington
Durfee of Shaftsbury
Elder of Starksboro
Emmons of Springfield
Fegard of Berkshire
Gannon of Wilmington
Kornheiser of Brattleboro
Krowinski of Burlington
LaLonde of South
Lanpher of Vergennes
Lippert of Hinesburg
Long of Newfane
Macaig of Williston
Masland of Thetford
McCarthy of St. Albans City
McCormack of Burlington *
McCullough of Williston
Morris of Springfield
Mrowicki of Putney *
Murphy of Fairfax
Nicoll of Ludlow
Noyes of Wolcott
Sullivan of Burlington
Szott of Barnard
Taylor of Colchester
Till of Jericho
Toleno of Brattleboro
Toll of Danville
Townsend of South
Troiano of Stannard
Walz of Barre City
Webb of Shelburne
White of Hartford
Wood of Waterbury
Yacovone of Morristown
Yantachka of Charlotte
Young of Greensboro

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Categories: Energy

9 replies »

  1. Better stock up on these tools now because no matter how futile any effort we make here in Vt. may in fact be, the virtue signaling, ideologues will push it until more practical people have had enough. Ya know, just because the Californicating flakes have bought into it.

  2. The Burlington City Council appear to be populated with many progressive socialists, who, w/raised fists virtue signal BDS, BLM, Defund the Police, etc. But, they wouldn’t think twice if they wanted to go see the Grateful Dead by taking a jumbo jet plane, or drive their gas guzzling micro-bus x-country to comrade “recall escapee”Newsome’s spiritually/politically/intellectually evolved state-nation.

  3. This is vermont not California! Wake up dumbasses and stop aggravating thevermont residents with your absurdities!

    • Remember what happened to The Red Coats when they came to Vermont!!!

  4. If these items are banned I will personally drive a tractor (combustion engine) towing a full trailer of manure to their place of “business” and off load the contents.

  5. I wonder if the state will provide the man power to mow my yard and plow my driveway?

  6. Ya sure, let’s kill off the wood and lumber industry…Won’t be much left, but boy, won’t the college kid’s feel good about themselves

  7. Diana Tierney has a great idea about dumping a load of manure in the yard of any legislator who votes for this ridiculous idea!