On Tuesday, the Sacramento City Council delivered a big win for clean air by unanimously voting 9-0 to restrict the use of portable leaf blowers. Vice Mayor Jeff Harris has been diligently working on this proposal for the past two years, with the support of local advocates, including CCA. The ordinance is a significant step in curtailing air pollution from small off-road engines. This ordinance will prohibit leaf blowing on days when the Air Quality Index is above 100 (based on particulate matter 2.5 measurements).
Sacramento continues to suffer from ongoing air pollution, with the fifth worst smog in the nation for multiple years now. According to the California Air Resources Board, by 2031 total smog-forming emissions from small engines (ex: leaf blowers) will be more than twice those from passenger cars. It is important for Sacramento to continue to get additional emissions reductions from these small engines.
This ordinance will improve public health outcomes by potentially reducing cases of asthma and upper respiratory ailments and will help in reaching our climate goals. At the meeting, Sacramento City Councilmembers stressed the importance of having bilingual information, education of operators, protecting operators’ health, and collaboratively working with the local public utility, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, to transition to clean equipment.
This ordinance is designed to be educational and a new web page has already been established to educate the operators and community. City staff will be reaching out to the 379 licensed gardeners that work in Sacramento. This is just the beginning of efforts to curb the harmful effects of gas-powered lawn equipment. We are taking this work to the state level by asking the California Air Resources Board to phase out all new sales of gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.