"The NOBLOW movement is going to continue to grow...."
-- Industry VIP
Even contractors not bound by legislative limitations need to
consider possible ramifications, [of legislative pressure to tone
down blower use].
-- Industry representative. (01.6.3)
Results of Survey99 show that
75% of participants would like to see more restrictions on blowers,
and 62% would like to see blowers banned. 64% of participants
changed their own routines sometime within a typical week due to
the use of blowers. 56% of this group do so often or daily.
70% of all participants state that blowers in their neighborhood
Ban proposals have been introduced from New York to California.
According to one article in 1997, there were about 300 bans
across the United States, and 40 of those are in California. (98.11.1).
A 1998 article claimed there were nearly 90 California cities with
restrictive ordinances, that 17 of those were blower bans, and that
by 1995 there were 20 New York blower ordinances. (98.2.4)
A 1995 Scarsdale, N.Y. finding that their blower restriction was
unconstitutional, was later overruled. Scarsdale still has
a summer ban on gas blowers for 4 months of the year.
The State of Texas proposed leaf blower bans in high-dust areas,
as did the Arizona Governors Brown Cloud Summit Report in
December, 2000. The Orange
County, CA, Grand Jury Report in 1999 recommended that cities,
school districts (especially, because of the danger of air pollution
to children), community college districts, and the County cease
using gas powered blowers. A Village of Winnetka, Illinois, preamble
to an ordinance calls them a public nuisance (97.10.1).
In the Los Angeles area, alone, there is a history of resistance
to the use of blowers. In 1978 Beverly Hills banned blowers.
Their law now cites gas blowers. In 1985 Santa
Monica first attempted legislation, and passed a total ban in 1991.
(See Blower Laws)
zapla.org continues to received requests for information from people
who wish to bring about legislation in their own communities.
|Alternative Work Methods
|Ban advocates say blower
use can be eliminated or reduced by use of rake and broom, mulching
mowers, frequency of mowing grass, electric (or battery operated)
vacuums, and changes in landscape design and maintenance routine.
Routine changes could include edging only every other week, and collecting
grass clippings in a mower bag, or using mowers that leave clippings
on top of, or push them down into, the lawn.
|In some cases where blowers
are restricted to certain areas and/or certain times of day or times
of year, the law may also become known as a ban.
Yet, many ordinances are actually restrictions.
In 1986 Los Angeles attempted a ban. Reintroduced by Councilman
Marvin Braude nearly ten years later, a ban was passed
in 1997, and took effect in 1998. However, L.A. does not ban
electric blowers. It does not even ban gas blowers beyond 500
feet distance from a residence. See
examples of blower laws and definitions for bans and restrictions
in California. It also took Palo Alto, CA about ten years
to get a ban on gas blowers in residential areas.
|Other Ordinances for the Publics
|Just as local governments
make ordinances regarding barking dogs, dog droppings, dangerous fireworks,
toys or electrical devices, fencing of swimming pools, seat belt use,
smoke detectors, and smog certificates, for instance, many local governments
also restrict or ban a variety of lawn and garden equipment.
In 1998, if not before, in its on-line brochure Particulate
Matter Air Pollution, the California
Air Resources Board recommended Avoid using leaf blowers
and other dust-producing equipment to cut down PM.
||It can be hard to tell who
is who. One speaker, an activist rightfully representing the
gardeners association he established and worked for, did not
correct the misconception at an Air Resources Board meeting, that
he was a gardener who had taken time off work to speak, and who would
lose income for doing so.
The return address of one group opposed to blower bans, Californians
for Quality Neighborhoods, was that of a powerful public relations
firm in the state capital that organizes industry-supported committees
posing as grass-roots organizations. (98.11.1).
|BAN ADVOCATES AND CONCERNED
||Individual homeowners and
other residents, and grass-roots groups formed by and of those individuals,
all of whom live and/or work in the areas affected by blower legislation.
These volunteers have no economic interest in their position, and
no funding to help in their efforts to control the pollution, including
noise, caused by blowers and/or two-stroke machines:
|The California Air ResourcesBoard
800 363-7664 (CA)
|The California Air Resources
Board has primary jurisdiction over lawn and garden utilities (non-road
engines) for the state. It is a part of the California Environmental
Protection Agency, with the mission of promoting and protecting
public health, welfare and ecological resources through the effective
and efficient reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering
the effects on the economy of the state.
The Major Goals of the Board are listed on our Reference Links page.
The ARB website includes lists
of 50 Things You Can Do to reduce air pollution, Fact
Sheets, Brochures and Presentations
|The South Coast
Air Quality Management District
Coast Air Quality Management District was concerned enough about
blower pollution that it proposed in its 1991 Air Quality Management
Plan for the South Coast Air Basin that The District will
prohibit the use and sale of leaf blowers within the Basin beginning
in 1994 (Source).
This plan was adopted by the board, but later superceded.
It is the air pollution control agency for Los Angeles County, Orange
County and parts of Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
Combined, this is the second most populous urban area in the United
See our Reference Links page for more AQMD
Links page for Leaf Blower Sites, Air Pollution Organizations,
Noise Organizations, and run through the Miscellaneous sites and
for Clean Air Progress
|We assume the
Californians For clean Air Progress can be counted as Concerned
Others, from its 1997 full page advertising supplement entitled
Fighting Smog: The Home Front. This ad involved
consumer products, including gasoline-powered lawnmowers, leaf blowers
and other utility tools that ". . . emit a significant amount
of VOCs more than all the aircraft in the South Coast.
|Many who speak in opposition
to blower bans do not live in the communities that are affected.
Several blower supporters do not live or work in those communities.
They include gardener association representatives (who may be trying
to make a job or a public name for themselves) and families of gardeners
(who have both emotional and economic interests in the subject).
Manufacturers, distributors, retailers, the Portable Power Equipment
Manufacturing Association (PPEMA), the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute
(OPEI), some politicians, and Landscape Contractors and Gardeners
Associations and their members, U.S. and foreign businesses, and questionable
special interest groups. All of these have an economic interest
in this subject. (Note: We believe PPEMA no longer exists as such.)
Due to the spreading NoBlow Movement, manufacturers have
increased efforts to improve product; and to educate end-users regarding
maintenance that will keep down pollution, and about courteous use,
which they hope will keep down complaints.
Landscape Contractors are concerned about residential gardening contracts,
and large contracts for cleaning parking lots and structures, and
the grounds-keeping for business buildings and shopping malls.
The general term gardener may include large or small business
owners, an individual independent contractor who works alone, the
regular employee of a landscape or gardening company or business,
or even inexperienced day-workers picked up for immediate, temporary,