New Colorado Regulation Could Restrict Gas-Powered Lawn Equipment
Whenever a new year rolls around, you can expect a round of new laws to come out. However, from December 12 through the 15, Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) is set to vote on the future use of gas-powered lawn equipment.
The law would affect specific counties on the Front Range. Federal agencies have cited these areas as being severe violators for failing to meet air quality standards.
The story of this possible new regulation spans back to the summer, with proposals having changed greatly over time.
Talks About Regulating Gas Powered Lawn Equipment in Colorado Began Back in the Summer.
Talks about the new regulation began once The Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC), an advisory group designated by Colorado, released their proposal.
Within their proposal, they suggested a ban on the selling of smaller gas-powered lawn equipment starting in nine Front Range Counties on Jan. 1, 2025. It would also ban the use of gas-powered lawn equipment by government agencies and commercial landscapers during summer months, beginning on June 1, 2025, and June 1, 2026, respectively.
The group cited that gas-powered lawn equipment makes up 10% of the Denver metro area’s greenhouse gas emissions. With their proposal, they cite replacing gas-powered lawn equipment with electric alternatives to be an easy solution to the area’s air quality troubles.
The proposal more specifically wanted to ban the selling of gas-powered lawn equipment in nine Front Range counties starting January 1, 2025.
A Few Months After the First Proposal, Colorado's Air Quality Control Commission Created a Much More Stripped Back Version.
In September, the AQCC created a proposal of its own that was much more stripped back.
What they came up with would instead prevent the use of gas-powered lawn equipment smaller than 25 horsepower between June 1 and August 31 starting in 2025. This regulation would not only affect government agencies in the first year but also private companies they may contract to do landscaping.
The proposal then says that starting in those same summer months in 2026, the summertime ban on these lawn equipment products would also include municipal and state governments within the nine-county ban.
These counties include Denver, Douglas, Arapahoe, Adams, Boulder, Jefferson, Broomfield, and Weld counties, and would also extend to nonmountainous portions of Larimer County.
In this time frame, it is expected any state entity, local governments, and any contractors they may employ will use electric alternatives during the summer months.
Shortly after the AQCC’s new recommendations, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed an executive order to get rid of gas-powered lawn equipment from being used by the state and any contractor working with the state. The executive order too has an effective start date of 2025, and while Polis acknowledged the upfront cost possibly being steep for contractors switching to electric, Colorado will offer tax credit to people who make the switch to encourage it.
What Are The Different Positions in the Debate?
Some landscape contractors in the area have pushed back against the possible regulations.
In a piece by the Denver Gazette, they interviewed local landscaper Bryan Meinert, who is against the regulations. He says switching to an all-electric collection of tools so quickly would be too costly for his business, given the prices of electric lawn equipment being higher at the moment than the gas options.
It should also be noted that the regulation does not have an estimated cost for switching to electric equipment at this time.
With all things considered, gas-powered lawn equipment does have a tangible impact in terms of emissions. The EPA reports that running a gas-powered lawn mower for one hour is equivalent to 11 cars in terms of pollution.
It is also worth noting that the targeted counties have had issues with pollution for years, especially in the summer months. With the steps taken over the past few years, the region has been downgraded by the EPA from a “serious” area of concern to “severe”.
Only time will tell if these regulations will pass in the coming weeks, but regardless, the debate is set to ramp up in the coming years.
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