DALLAS – The Dallas City Council is considering a ban on gasoline-powered leaf blowers.
City staff told council members on Tuesday that in addition to noise, they pollute the air. But some are concerned there is no good alternative when it comes to the seemingly endless cleanup of leaves.
Calling gas-powered blowers, a public health concern, the Dallas City Council committee directed the city’s new environmental commission to study a potential ban on the ubiquitous tools.
According to the California Research Board, one hour using a lawnmower emits the same amount of pollution as a car driving from Dallas to Lubbock. But one hour of a leaf blower is like driving from Dallas to Orlando, Florida.
“It’s a public health issue when you wake up at 3 a.m. and a son with asthma can’t breathe, and it impacts people of color,” said Councilwoman Paula Blackmon.
Councilwoman Carolyn King Arnold is worried about giving the city’s already strapped code enforcement department another area to regulate.
“We have homeless encampments doing more harm than these blowers,” she said.
When he is not fighting fires, landscaper Ron Hall is the owner of Ron’s Organics. He says he uses an environmentally friendly electric leaf blower on his own home but the gas-powered blowers for his business.
“We blow them in a pile and then the mower will mulch all the leaves up. We recycle and make our own compost,” he explained.
Hall says a ban on gas blowers would ultimately cost homeowners more because using a gas blower is about three times as efficient.
“If I give you a bid of $500 to maintain your property, and you say no gas leaf blowers, I’m going to charge 30 percent more,” he said.
That’s another $150 more a month.
Hall says another issue is that the charge on an electric blower only lasts about an hour.
The city’s environmental commission was asked to report back to the city council with regulation proposals in September.