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Boston councilors to consider outlawing gas-powered leaf blowers, lawn mowers

The City Council agreed today to look at the idea of outlawing belching noisy lawn tools that run on gasoline as environmental and health menaces that now have less noxious, quieter electric alternatives.

City Councilor Kenzie Bok (Fenway, Mission Hill, Back Bay, Bay Village, Beacon Hill), who sponsored the proposal, said two-stroke blowers and mowers are now one of the city's leading sources of gas-powered pollution, emit toxic chemicals that can harm the workers who use them and people who live near where they're used and are just wicked noisy.

"Leaf blowers blowers can pose serious health risks," and it's time to move towards a cleaner, quieter grid-based alternative involving implements powered by rechargeable batteries.

The proposal now goes to a Council committee for public hearings and consideration.

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Comments

and some close family that uses a battery powered lawnmower.

Very solid equipment that works very well. Maybe have a gas powered lawnmower buyback like we do with firearms?

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Voting closed 52

So if the Mayor wants to cut down a Tree in her backyard , a battery powered chainsaw will do the job. Insane..

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Depending on the size of the tree... very possibly. Battery powered chainsaws have improved considerably in just a few short years. They still can't cut through really big trees like a gas powered one can, but with a 16" bar they can handle a 20" diameter tree. Battery life is improving.

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Voting closed 25

Ever hear of a rake? Or an ax? How lazy can you be?

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Kinopio. With all due respect. Shut the fuck up.

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Voting closed 58

I felled a full size tree with an axe. Well, it was a group effort. About 6 of us taking turns. Unless someone wants to pay me, or make some ridiculous competition out of it, I don't think I need to use an axe to fell a tree ever again. Though I do have a brand new chopping axe right now...but I also have a new set of chainsaw safety gear. Decisions, decisions....

Anyways, yeah, I would not expect anyone to default to an axe to fell a tree in the year 2022.

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If you're using an axe instead of a cross-cut saw to cut down a tree...watch some YouTube and save yourself some time and energy.

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But aren't axes still cool after all these years?

Oh... pottymouth!

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How many trees have you chopped down in your life?

I would imagine that as you are suggesting using a rake to do so, your lazy ass has probably never picked up an axe.

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I have an electric snowblower that will throw snow 50' from the street to my roof (had to try it).

Battery powered tools are getting rather powerful these days.

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I've had to replace the carburetor twice on the ten times I've used it and it's not currently working. Maybe I should buy an electric one?!

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Were you able to clean out from the recent storm without needing to recharge the battery? What’s the approximate time it can run? Or do you have a spare set of batteries?

I fully plan to replace my gas lawnmower with an electric one when it dies. But replacing the gas snowblower with something that is most likely to need its batteries recharged at the times we’re most likely to have a power outage concerns me. I’m hoping the cost of spare batteries comes down enough before my current snowblower dies, to make the decision easier.

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So you always have one charging if needed. I am guessing the snowblowers would as well.

Also look into portable batteries like the jackery which have very solid products starting at $200. That should take care of most storms and battery charging if you are looking for something cheap that doesn't involve a gas generator.

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The Ryobi snowblowers seem to get terrible reviews in terms of battery life, unfortunately, even with the spares. I like the idea of recharging off solar panels as a backup, but my spouse’s job doesn’t give us a lot of flexibility in terms of how long we can wait to finish clearing snow. I’ll have to ponder and do some math on that one.

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A quick glance online tells me Ryobi is not the way to go if you want a battery snowblower. Looks like there are other brands that have better reviews.

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Don't wear hearing protection or chaps.
Don't lubricate the chain and bar.
Direct exhaust toward your lungs.
But most of all stand on the limb and cut on the side next to the trunk.

Wait. That's insane.

But I hear chainsaws act as rock magnets when operating in dense residential neighborhoods.

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I would be all for this. I would also love some sort of ordinance restricting the use of leaf blowers to certain times of day/year. Noise pollution is a problem with electric ones just as much as with gas ones.

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Then they came for the snowblowers

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Voting closed 39

Get rid of ‘em. Thank you.

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Voting closed 51

leaf blowers are way worse than mowers.
landscapers can't do their jobs without gas mowers, but they can still rake.

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Voting closed 33

I'd to see you tell a landscaper that; you'd be seeing stars for sure.

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Check your assumptions. Battery powered mowers are getting pretty beefy.

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Not sure forcing people onto electric mowers is practical yet. At the very least there needs to be a phase-out period so people have some warning of a significant expense being foisted on them.

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I've been using electric mowers on my lawn for about 8 years and I can attest that they work great and are MUCH more reliable than gas powered mowers.

I DO have a battery-powered blower which is just OK. The problem with blowers is that you "blow" through batteries very quickly, as you can't put a big battery on something that you carry around on your arm. It IS quieter than gas, but certainly not silent.

To be fair, I think you'd need to give people a 5 to 10 year warning that their gas mowers/blowers are going to be outlawed.

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Get some pollution controls and better mufflers, then you can use your century+ old technology to do some yard work.

Don't cump the costs of your choices with the rest of the world.
Pay the price and do not defecate in the soup.

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There are not too many two-cycle lawnmowers out there.

Battery powered equipment has come a long way in the last few years - I've replaced my gasoline powered mower, trimmer and blower. But the one bit of yard equipment that doesn't have a workable battery-powered replacement is the snowblower. I think you'd have a tough time banning those!

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about 35 years ago. It worked fine. I can only imagine they have improved since then.

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how will the city actually enforce this? I live out in the suburbs, in a town with this same ordinance and a police force with nothing to do and this ordinance is effectively unenforced. I don't see how Boston - whose resources are already stretched thin - will successfully do this.

and for what its worth, electric chain saws are ok for small trees, but are utterly useless for anything bigger than 14" in diameter or so. have fun chopping up a downed 36" oak without gas powering your saw!

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I concur about electric chainsaws. I have one that is fine for small stuff, but way under-powered for like an 8" branch. Plus the battery is done in about 20 minutes and takes an hour to recharge. That technology isn't quite there yet.

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But it is good for a lot of limbs and branches that fall and/or need to be trimmed or cut.

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I use a large bow saw for limbs and trees up to about ten inches. Slow going, sure, but cheap, effective, and builds strong bodies in one way. And I don't have any prep or cleanup or special gear and toxic flammable liquids to store or put away in a ventilated space.

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That will eliminate all the air pollution, noise pollution and an added bonus stop hoards of kids on them wreaking havoc on the streets of Boston.

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in cambridge too please! i cannot say enough terrible things about leafblowers!

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"one of the city's leading sources of gas-powered pollution"

That's a big list, lets exclude those city buses, trucks, cars, the increased vehicle traffic from reducing the number of driving lanes on main streets, delivery trucks, antiquated heating in government subsidized housing, giant LNG ships, container ships.

Let's go after the small fry.

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Voting closed 39

Cambridge the other day put stickers on gas pumps in the city saying that gasoline usage leads to climate change.

Cambridge did this after they converted all their city vehicles including police cars, school buses, fire trucks, snow plows, trash trucks, street sweepers, and other city vehicles to all electric powered by wind and solar sources.

I'm kidding about the conversion. Cambridge did squat. Sure they have some electrics but the chutzpah is beautiful. More do as I say, not do as I do.

Funny that the proposal to ban gas powered equipment in Boston came from a City Councilor who has the constituency with the least about of private lawns in the city. We call this a layup for free publicity.

Full disclosure, I have an electric weed whacker and it is great.

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All those motor vehicles you cite are REGULATED. They have emissions equipment and are tested frequently.

Two stroke engines are nasty and they ARE a significant source of air pollution. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/how-bad-for-the-e...

Even four stroke engines without emissions equipment spew out more than multiple cars do.

I have worked for years with air pollution and public health - you need to learn facts rather than engaging easy assumptions.

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cars have separate oil chambers for lubrication so they are not involved in combustion with the gas. Leaf blowers, lawn mowers, chain saws, weed whippers, jet skis, etc have you mix the oil with the gas, causing much more pollution, especially since it doesn't all burn. Using a lawn mower for an hour is the same pollution as driving a car 300 miles. A leaf blower in an hour pollutes as much as a car driving 1100 miles. No longer needed - you can get battery operated equipment that charge when not in use. 100% for this ban

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Who the hell has a two stroke lawn mower?

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For someone that "has worked for years with air pollution" you should know small off-road engine powered equipment, such as blowers and chainsaws have been regulated by the EPA for more than 3 decades. Some equipment is as much as 90% less polluting than their pre-regulation predecessors. Many leaf blowers are significantly lower than today's emission limits, including some now using 4-stroke technology. Cherry picking comparison, like many regulators do is not necessarily reflective of current and popular technology.

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Not really a small fry on toxic pollution or noise, but good idea to address other major pollution sources affecting people in Boston and the metro area too.

independent tests by Edmunds found gas-syn oil blowers emit far more than a multi-ton F-150 pickup truck, in addition to the EPA's and many other studies on how incredibly polluting these tools are.

https://www.edmunds.com/about/press/leaf-blowers-emissions-dirtier-than-...

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delete

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Do I have this correct…..
Dirt bikes on our city streets causing havoc and they want to meet on leaf blowers and lawn mowers…..
Makes absolutely no sense.

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Can't wait till this goes through. Nuts to you, over-enthusiastic neighbor blowing leaves and yard crap into the street for 2 hours straight every damn summer weekend day.

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I didn’t know trees shed their leaves in the summer…

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No riding in the back of a pickup truck on the highway?

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Snowblowers?

P.S. leaf blowers are the new space savers.

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Are for boomers and basic-ass suburbanites. The merits of both acts have been discredited.

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Will the parks, DPW and other city employees also be limited to electric tools?
Or, will the city be hypocritical like Concord?

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They have a great example of leaf blower bans...

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We'll see. My neighbors and I love the fact that who we now call Leaf Blower Guy had the joy of his Sunday morning at 6:30 announcement with Leaf Blowing, Wood Chipping, and Concrete Sanding for years now. Despite complaints it continues.

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I say start with the leaf blowers, since they’re so horrible and pervasive. You hear them all the time in the summer and fall, and it makes it really hard to have a nice time on your patio. Chainsaws aren’t so common. Lawns? What are those?

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ate the worst offenders.

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Maybe they can tackle something serious, like our failing schools. Just a suggestion.
We might buy a goat to cut our grass.

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If not, you will probably have to just occasionally rent one. ;-)

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We will have to look into it.:)

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It would be a working animal.
Like a team mascot is an advertising expense.

A beast of burden.

A pet? Nah.
Just name it Tom Brady.
And get some saddlebags for it.

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They may be small fry, but we have to start somewhere; especially since gas-powered leaf blowers are not only air but also sound polluters. As in all ill-effects of untested technology, the immigrant workers first, the next door neighbors and the rest of us may not feel them now or in the near future, but air and noise pollution are real and damaging. To claim that eliminating them would affect the livelihood of immigrant workers is shameful. Would anyone argue that improving human working conditions and health over income is not a priority?

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