Will Vermont follow California and ban gas-powered leafblowers and chainsaws?

By Guy Page

Will Vermont follow California and ban gas-powered leafblowers, chainsaws and other “off-road engines”?

On October 9, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law AB1346, which by next July will “prohibit engine exhaust and evaporative emissions from new small off-road engines.” Batteries and muscles will replace fossil fuels as the energy source for cutting wood and moving leaves.

“One hour of operation of a commercial leaf blower can emit as much ROG [reactive organic gases] plus NOx [oxides of nitrogen] as driving 1,100 miles in a new passenger vehicle,” AB1346 states in its opening paragraph.


State Rep. Laura Sibilia, I-Dover: “I’m in favor of helping as many low income and rural working people as possible switch fuel sources as fast as possible.”

Vermont already has at least one municipal leaf-blower ban. In April, the Burlington City Council announced a ban on summertime commercial use that will extend to personal use by next summer. Like the California law, the Burlington ban has a ‘buy-back’ feature.

Representatives of the landscaping industry in both Burlington and California complained — to no avail — the bans will create manpower problems and raise consumer costs.

On the state level, an off-road engine (ORE) ban would likely come from either the Legislature or the Vermont Climate Council.

The Vermont Legislature has a record for passing cutting-edge legislation first approved in California. Vermont Daily Chronicle reached out to members of the House Transportation and Energy and Technology committees for their opinion and comments about AB1346.

One Energy and Technology committee member said the climate council recommendations would need legislative approval. “This idea [off-road engine ban] has not been raised to my knowledge,” Rep. Mike Yantachka, D-Charlotte, said. “We await the [Vermont] Climate Council recommendations and will evaluate them for needed legislation.”

E&T Committee Vice-Chair Laura Sibilia, I-Dover, strongly supports the transition away from fossil fuels, she explained in her response this morning:

Of course the California General Assembly members were elected by their communities and districts and Governor Newsom by the people of California. And if I’m not mistaken, he was just reassured that he has the support of the majority of Californian voters in the recall election. So it sounds like the majority of the people of California are in favor of this legislation.

I’m really concerned that your fundamental misunderstanding of what is actually happening related to fossil fuel switching is feeding into other sources of misinformation and will aid in keeping our poor and rural communities poor.

Vermonters who can afford to shift off of fossil fuels have done so and more are doing so every day. Many undoubtably recognize the moral imperative we have to our kids and the planet. But even more are simply protecting their wealth and assets by switching off fossil fuels. They know that pricing is unstable, that we live in a global fuel economy, and that as more and more countries (and states like California) switch fuels, it’s going to become more expensive and less convenient to keep using fossil fuels.

I’m in favor of helping as many low income and rural working people as possible switch fuel sources as fast as possible.”

As Yantachka mentioned, any proposed ORE ban is likely to begin in the Vermont Climate Council, created by the Legislature last year to reduce emissions 26% below 2005 levels by 2025 and 80% by 2050. Gov. Phil Scott recently said the appointed council is empowered to enact carbon-cutting measures — such as joining the carbon-taxing regional Climate and Transportation Initiative — and he can’t stop it.

The Climate Council is appointed and therefore is not directly accountable to voters. See the 103 lawmakers who voted to override Gov. Scott’s veto of the Global Warming Solutions Act that created the Climate Council.

Guy Page is publisher of the Vermont Daily Chronicle. Reprinted with permission.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Martin Kopta and TNR

13 thoughts on “Will Vermont follow California and ban gas-powered leafblowers and chainsaws?

  1. These elected officials feel so enlightened after watching a few hours of CNN or listening to NPR. They are then empowered to make ridiculous laws on topics they completely do not understand. These people have likely never operated a gas blower in their life. They think nothing about the hardship this will cause both landscape operators and customers, only feeling self righteous about saving the planet. Of course they are making zero difference in saving the planet, but they believe it and that’s all that matters to them.

  2. While most on here are talking common sense and using critical thinking, these ideologues from the climate profiteering, religious cult could care less. I hate to say it but the only way to stop these people is by civil disobedience, plain and simple.

    Who will enforce these laws to confiscate illegal leaf blowers, chainsaws, lawn mowers and off road vehicles. Can they fine and arrest us all? While felons are being left on our streets and corrections is releasing violent criminals or not the courts are not charging them to begin with, the jails will be full of fossil fuel criminals?

    The industries that provide jobs will disappear and more will be unemployed. If any of this is allowed to happen, it is the failure of citizens to allow the destruction of their lives, there prosperity and their freedom. As a life long and born in Vermont resident, I am ashamed of what has been allowed to happen to this state and it’s people by carpetbagger, trust fund, know it alls from somewhere other than Vermont. All true Vermonters should be ashamed that they continue to vote for their ruination willingly. Wake up from being WOKE before it’s too late. Legalize Freedom in the GREEN MOUNTAIN STATE or live in the shared misery of the progressive over lords. Your choice, talking no longer works if it ever did. We don’t need to use violence, we just need to use our brains.

    • Do what they do when confronted with a law they don’t like – ignore it.

      Small companies doing business with these control freaks should stop – no more mowing, gardening, snow plowing, plumbing, car repair etc. Refuse to inspect their vehicles. Make their lives more difficult.

  3. Whatever Commiefornia does – some soft-skulled twit in the VT Legislature must follow right along. Our State is run by an assembly of absolute idiots from the top to the bottom. We need to starve these people from their fuel – $$$

  4. State Rep. Laura Sibilia has uttered the 9 most dangerous words in the English language: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.
    Can I pose a couple of rhetorical questions:
    -just who voted for a nitwit like this?
    -when did she move here from New Jersey?
    -when did the nitwits who voted for her in that town full of second-homes move here from New Jersey?

  5. Guess I might end in jail since I cut my own firewood and its how I heat. If they don’t like it, they are also free to buy my house so I can move to a state with rational people. But I will not stop because they say so. Its called freedom and I’m not giving in to the communists.

  6. I am too old to ride or walk behind a lawn mower, once a week, during spring, summer and fall, so I pay someone $80 to do the mowing.

    I mentioned his mower, a $11,000 unit, with bagger, would soon need to be battery-operated

    He looked to me, as if I was kidding

    He said, sure, but I would have to charge you at least double each week! I sure would lose customers. Who the hell thought that up?

    I said, your friends in Montpelier, who, of course, know nothing about the mowing business.

    I said, what about folks who are haying? Their Deere tractors would need to battery- operated as well?

    Then, I thought, what a neat way to get everyone to give up their lawns, sell their house, and move into a multi-level CONDO, or, in my case, a retirement facility, aka, waiting-for-death facility (do not ever call them homes).

    Then, we can take these electric buses or electric bikes to wherever we want to go.

    Then, I thought, what a neat to get everyone to give up their cars, minivans, SUVs, crossovers, and 1/4-ton pick-ups.

    All this will be cost ZERO MONEY, according to Biden, because we will be selling SAVE AMERICA bonds that pay no interest, after inflation is taken into account.

    Ah, finally, we will have arrived in NIRVANA

    Oh, no, not so quick.

    What about electricity when the wind does not blow, and the sun does not shine early mornings and late evenings?

    Ok, we, the GWSA Committee is working on that.

    So far, the Committee found, it will take a LOT OF VERY EXPENSIVE BATTERY SYSTEMS, which last only 15 years, if you do not treat them too badly.

    But that will be no problem, because we will just sell more of those SAVE AMERICA bonds.

    Stay tuned

  7. Not only is that a ridiculous idea, but dangerous. Without proper commercial logging, our forests will turn into fire hazards, and we’ll face the same risks of wildfire that California sees. It would be a big boon to Canadian lumber industry, and you can also expect a doubling of cost for lumber of all sorts, especially the valuable maple and oak used in furniture making.

  8. So there goes the logging industry in Vermont. Chain saws will fade out and the timber industry which is a substantial part of Vermont’s economy will be right behind. The number of Vermont sawmills had decreased mightily over the last two decades because of insurance regulations. Now we will outlaw chainsaws. Pitiful.

  9. Of course Vermont’s silly legislature will pass a law banning small engines. California’s law prohibits IC engines manufactured after 1/1 2024. Vermont will attempt similar. Interesting to note that the California law “Expects” the availability of zero-emission generators and emergency response equipment. I’m thinking it’ll be mighty hard to fight California’s numerous wildfires while waiting for a battery-powered chainsaw to charge using a solar powered charger amidst the smoke rising from the fire you are trying to fight. Or telling the trapped injured victim of an auto accident that the extrication tools have to charge a bit before we can get you out… The fascination to follow California environmental law here is Vermont is perplexing. But so is Sibilia’s response quoted above. Is it her moral imperative to hand out battery leaf blowers to low income residents of Dover?

  10. More liberal nonsense, Vermont is just one step behind California but gaining,
    we have a gaggle of fools under the ” Golden Doom ” and will turn VT into the
    same SH California has become……wake up people !!

    Fools in charge, this is what you’ll get…………….

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