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Blue state could soon jail people over gas-powered lawnmowers

Lawn mowing equipment. (PXHere/Free Use)
December 17, 2023

Two Washington state representatives are proposing a bill that would ban the use of gas-powered lawnmowers and other outdoor equipment in the state. The proposed legislation would include punishments such as fines and jail time for the operation of gas-powered outdoor equipment.

The bill, written by Washington State Reps. Amy Walen and Liz Berry, would ban “gasoline-powered and diesel-powered landscaping and other outdoor power equipment,” which would include lawnmowers, snow blowers, weed whackers, pressure washers, and other outdoor equipment.

According to the bill, violations would result in a misdemeanor and would be punishable “by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars, or by imprisonment in the county jail for up to three hundred sixty-four days, or by both for each separate violation.”

The Daily Caller reported that in an effort to justify the harsh penalties for the proposed legislation, Walen and Berry claimed the operation of gas-powered outdoor equipment is “contributing to climate change and negatively impacting public health.”

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The bill claims that a single hour of operating a gas-powered lawnmower can “contribute as much smog-forming pollution” as a passenger car contributes in a 300-mile drive.

The Daily Caller reported that the blue state’s bill would give the Washington Department of Ecology authority to “adopt rules to prohibit engine exhaust and evaporative emissions from new outdoor power equipment.” The ban against gas-powered equipment would apply to outdoor equipment produced “on or after January 1, 2026,” or whenever the Washington Department of Ecology determined a reasonable date after January of 2026.

The proposed bill would require businesses in Washington to replace diesel and gas-powered outdoor equipment with “zero emission landscaping equipment.” The Daily Caller noted that while the bill includes a tax break incentive for new emission-free equipment, the purchase of electric outdoor equipment is very costly.

The bill is expected to be considered by the state during its upcoming legislative session, according to The Daily Caller.