ATLANTA – An Atlanta-based environmental group is renewing its campaign against gasoline-powered lawn equipment.

Capitol Beat News Service
This story also appeared in Capitol Beat News Service

The Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center has released a study showing that gas-powered leaf blowers, lawnmowers, string trimmers, chainsaws and other lawn and garden equipment generate large amounts of air pollution and noise.

According to the report’s analysis of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data, lawn and garden equipment in Georgia emitted an estimated 864 tons of harmful “fine particulate” air pollution in 2020 – an amount equivalent to the pollution emitted by 9.2 million typical cars over the course of a year.

For all the air pollution components tracked, Georgia ranked in the top 10 worst-polluting states. Gwinnett, Cobb, DeKalb, and Fulton counties placed in the top 10 for pollution emissions among counties.

“It’s absurd that we have been tolerating so much harmful pollution and noise just to cut grass and maintain landscapes,” said Jennette Gayer, the center’s director. “The good news is cleaner, quieter electric-powered lawn equipment is capable, affordable, and readily available.”

The report recommends that local and state governments use electric equipment on public property and provide financial incentives to encourage the widespread adoption of electric lawn equipment.

Environment Georgia and other environmental groups supported efforts to rein in the use of gas-powered lawn equipment during this year’s General Assembly session.

State Senate Republicans pushed back by introducing legislation to prohibit cities and counties from regulating gas-powered equipment, arguing the technology for electric equipment isn’t fully developed.

The bill passed the Senate, with an amendment added by Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta, putting a sunset date of mid-2031 on the measure. After the House passed a different version of the bill, it failed to get through the General Assembly but remains alive for consideration during the upcoming session starting in January.

This story available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, an initiative of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

Type of Story: News

Based on facts, either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Dave Williams is bureau chief for Capitol Beat News Service, a service of the Georgia Press Education Foundation.