Gas-powered leaf blowers could soon be banned in Montgomery County

States like California and cities across the country have banned gas-powered leaf blowers — Montgomery County could be next. 

It's no secret that gas-powered leaf blowers can be loud, and harmful to the environment, but they can also cause dangerous health effects, ranging from hearing loss to mental illness. 

That's why Montgomery County Council Chairman Gabe Albornoz – on behalf of County Executive Marc Elrich – submit a new proposal that would ban the sale of gas-powered leaf blowers. 

"With cost-effective alternative equipment available as electric options, this prohibition will phase out combustion engine-powered equipment and phase in much less noisy electric plug-in and battery powered equipment," Elrich stated in the proposal. 

"We consider this low-hanging fruit in our battle with the climate emergency that is now plaguing us all over our country," said Barton Rubenstein, a Somerset resident. "Banning leaf blowers is not only having to do with the gas but also the sound which is deafening."

Bill 18-22 calls for a program for residents to hand over their gas-powered blowers in exchange for cash to put toward purchasing an electric version. Residents of towns like Chevy Chase and Somerset, where they've already banned gas-powered blowers, are excited about the proposal. 

Some argue it's the natural progression after D.C. banned gas-powered leaf blowers in January. 

Local landscapers say a bill like this could hurt small businesses. 

"For me, I just think time is money," said Dario Rodriguez with D.A.R. Landscaping. "Now that fall is here and leaves are starting to blow into the yards, it's probably going to take twice the amount – if not three times the amount of time – just to get some clean up on the yards." 

If the bill passes, violators would face a $500 fine for the first offense, and up to a maximum of $1,000 for repeat offenses.