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There was a collective sigh and eye rolls recently when it was announced that the Governor signed a law to ban gas-powered mowers, generators and other equipment. Many Californians will say it’s just California being California, but not realizing the real impact it will have on our everyday lives, and how the new law is truly a contradiction of policies.
Assembly Bill 1346 requires the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to implement regulations banning the sale of new internal combustion, small off-road engines that have less than 25 horsepower by January 1, 2024. The measure includes equipment used in lawn care, portable generators, various power tools, and other equipment used for personal and commercial purposes.
As part of existing law, CARB must adopt a statewide greenhouse gas emissions limit equivalent to 1990 levels by 2020. Additionally, CARB is required to reach goals of statewide emissions reduction to at least 40% below the 2020 statewide limit no later than December 31, 2030.
Converting landscaping equipment to electric or battery will substantially increase the cost to consumers and taxpayers alike. Once again, we are pricing people out of California. It’s more than just providing an affordable option. Rechargeable batteries sound like a good idea, until you factor in California’s less than reliable electrical grid. So, when the power goes out Californians have had to invest in generators to power their refrigerators, air conditioners, and especially life-saving medical equipment. This will no longer be an option.
I spoke against this legislation in the Senate because our communities are burning down and blackouts are becoming a way of life, and instead of solving these problems lawmakers want to regulate lawnmower engines. We are not a third-world economy, but it feels like we’re moving in that direction. At some point the public has to be made aware of the mismanagement of funds. We need to be accounting for the massive forest fires that are emitting more carbon annually than all sources combined.
I am not against reducing carbon emissions. In fact, my proposed legislation (SB 495) would calculate carbon emissions from wildland and forest fires into the state’s scoping plan and determine an appropriate reduction strategy. Tragically, legislators killed this bill in committee, because they would rather just study the issue, instead of talking about real solutions.
Note: The federal Clean Air Act preempts California control of emissions for many tools. More information and a list of preempt equipment is available here: https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/sore-list-determine-preempt-road-applications.