Gary Greene: Issue is not leaf blowers, it’s noise

  • Matt Moloney via StockSnap Matt Moloney via StockSnap

Published: 9/17/2023 8:56:33 AM
Modified: 9/17/2023 8:55:51 AM

Regarding my column on leaf blowers, I genuinely appreciate all the comments [“The slippery slope of a ban on gas leaf blowers,” Recorder, Aug. 17]. Regarding one respondent, the Consumer Reports article they cited ends with the statement, “All that said, a gas leaf blower might make sense if … you have a big yard filled with leafy deciduous trees.” That describes my situation exactly. I’m clearing acres, not a small lot.

Responding to another, recommending mulching, “We have started doing this in our in-town 0.3-acre yard surrounded by huge maples and oaks with our electric mower.” Precisely my point. I’m dealing with multiple acres, not 13,000-plus square feet. Even if I attempted to mulch my leaves, as a practical matter I’d still have to do it with a fossil fuel-powered lawn and garden tractor. The area is too big and it’s heavily forested, producing far too many leaves to mulch with an electric mower.

Regarding leaf blowers specifically, my point in the original column wasn’t that everyone should use them or they’re a better solution. It was simply that there is no one solution that covers all circumstances for homeowners and commercial landscapers. If you own a small lot and electric blowers and mowers are a practical solution, that’s great. They’re simply not practical for me or many others. The city shouldn’t attempt to slice this Gordian knot through some unworkable, unenforceable regulation.

More importantly, the central issue under consideration isn’t leaf blowers at all — it’s noise. If we start regulating things that make noise that people object to, there’s a long list of things we’ll need to ban: mowers, snowblowers, chainsaws, loud cars, trucks, and motorcycles, outdoor concerts, block parties, private planes, barking dogs, those annoying air horns at sporting events, rubbish trucks and other heavy equipment, referee whistles, fireworks, etc. Everyone has a pet peeve. If we start regulating one of them, we’d better be prepared to regulate all of them, and I doubt anyone really wants that.

Gary Greene



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