27 September 2023- First it looks like gas powered cars are on the chopping block (or maybe not) but now it seems that gas-powered lawn equipment is in some Pennsylvania Democrats’ crosshairs. Representative Melissa Shusterman of Chester county released a memorandum to all House members yesterday about the creation of a “Zero Emissions Lawn Care Task Force”.
Even the most ardent environmentalists and greenies have supported vehicle choice nationally as states like California and Maryland look to phase out the production and ability to purchase a gasoline-powered vehicle. Now it looks like a variation of that plan is coming to Pennsylvania.
One of the things the theoretical task force would do is to ensure “affordability and accessibility for disadvantaged communities” that may not be able to purchase more expensive and less tested lawn equipment.
As of right now it doesn’t look like there’s any legislation actually being brought to the floor of the PA House, but if Shusterman gets enough signatures it looks likely to come forward in some fashion. The full memorandum, which was sent to ALL House members, is below.
Gas-powered lawn and garden tools represent about 85 percent of what is known as small off-road engine (SORE) equipment in the United States. Such equipment is often manufactured without the pollution controls placed on gas-powered vehicles and thus burns a dirtier fuel mix. Moreover, operating a gas-powered commercial lawn mower for one hour emits as much pollution as driving a passenger car about 300 miles.
Recognizing such a substantial contribution to pollution, more than 100 local governments in the United States have enacted at least partial bans on the use of gas-powered lawn equipment. Similar proposals have been made in Pennsylvania’s neighboring states of New Jersey, New York, and Maryland. During a time when outdoor temperatures are reaching life-threatening levels, we must act with urgency to limit sources of significant pollution, such as gas-powered equipment.
In an effort to join these states at the forefront of climate stewardship, I am introducing legislation to establish a Zero Emissions Lawn Care Task Force. The task force would develop a plan to phase out gas-powered lawn and garden equipment in Pennsylvania. In doing so, it would consider issues of affordability and accessibility for disadvantaged communities in its recommendations and establish an incentive program for the switch to battery-powered alternatives.
Please join me in taking charge of Pennsylvania’s environmental future by signing on to this proposal.