Kramer: Banning Gas Powered Leaf Blowers – Please add a side of empathy!

Submitted by Paul E. Kramer, District 5 RTM

In December, the Greenwich RTM will vote on Quiet Yards Greenwich’s (QYG) ordinance to ban gas-powered leaf blowers from May 1 to September 30.

QYG is supporting this ordinance to address the environmental and noise pollution of gas blowers.  It is impossible to ignore the health and quality of life benefits of electric blowers versus gas.  However, I am opposed to the way QYG is going about it.

QYG has shown little concern for the landscaper community.  I am talking about the small independent landscaper who is scraping together a living.  Many of these landscapers are first-generation, English as a second language, immigrants.  Many of these landscapers do not have the money to buy commercial-grade electric blowing systems (multiple blowers, batteries, and chargers) that will cost more than $1,000.

Communities from California to Washington D.C. have adopted bans on gas-powered blowers but have also shown empathy by helping landscapers offset the cost of switching.  The California state bill enacting the ban included $27 Million for small landscaping businesses to buy equipment.  Washington D.C. initiated a rebate program for Landscapers when they implemented a ban.

If these communities can demonstrate empathy and concern for the impact a ban will have on their Landscaper community, affluent Greenwich can do the same.  Our landscapers are our neighbors and employees. It is our responsibility, as a caring community and caring employers to address the impact this ordinance will have on our landscapers.

Let’s delay this ordinance until we identify a subsidy plan to support landscaper conversions.  Greenwich can afford to.

Paul E Kramer
Representative Town Meeting
Greenwich, CT District 5