Bill to ban gas-powered leaf blowers tabled in Montgomery County

Lawmakers in Montgomery County have hit the pause button on a controversial bill which would have forced people to swap out their gas-powered leaf blowers for electric ones.

Backers of the bill say gas-powered leaf blowers are too loud, unhealthy and bad for the environment.

Anticipating that politicians in Montgomery County have been serious looking at banning gas leaf blowers, one local landscaping company, Pineapple Landscaping, recently launched an all-electric service with an electric truck, blowers, mowers and trimmers.

Owner Alex Neilsen tells FOX 5 it's been a major expense for their small business.

"I think we wanted to be the first one in the area to get ahead of this, we know it’s coming, it’s something that DC’s already done, and we did not want to be behind it, we wanted to be the first people to do it," says Neilsen.

The gas blower ban was set for a final reading, but after Montgomery County Council President Evan Glass touted the benefits of banning gas-powered blowers, others on the council voiced concerns over a planned rebate program that would've paid people to swap out gas blowers for electric.

"As other jurisdictions around the region have taken similar measures, and some municipalities within Montgomery County have already adopted similar measures, the time has come for Montgomery County as a whole to take a similar position," says Glass.

By a 7-4 vote, the bill was tabled.

"This a complex issue and we need to make sure we get this legislation done correctly and addresses the needs of all stakeholders and make sure the rebate program is something that works," says Councilmember Marilyn Balcombe.

If the gas-powered leaf blower ban ever does pass in Montgomery County, breaking the law won't be cheap. The proposal state that violating the ordinance would come with a fine of up to $500 for the first offense and up to $750 for additional offenses.