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Gas-powered outdoor equipment stands cannot be set up in Rehoboth.

Gas-powered outdoor equipment stands cannot be set up in Rehoboth.

Rehoboth Beach, a city in Delaware, USA, has been considering a ban on gas-powered lawn tools within the city limits. The ban, which was proposed by the city’s environment group in December 2020, would prohibit the use of gas-powered leaf blowers, lawnmowers, trimmers, and other outdoor equipment that emit harmful emissions and noise. The ban would also apply to gas-powered outdoor equipment stands that sell or rent such equipment to customers.

Key Takeaways

  • A proposed ban on gas-powered lawn tools in Rehoboth Beach, a city in Delaware, USA.
  • The ban aims to reduce air and noise pollution and combat climate change by switching to battery-powered or electric equipment.
  • The ban would be phased in over several years, starting with city contractors and staff in 2024, followed by business owners in 2025, and finally the entire city in 2026.
  • The ban faced opposition from some city commissioners, who raised concerns about the cost, supply, fairness, and feasibility of the change.
  • Most commissioners decided not to move forward with the proposed ban at this time.

The ban was suggested as a way to reduce air and noise pollution and combat climate change by encouraging the use of battery-powered or electric equipment instead. According to the environment group, gas-powered lawn tools contribute to smog formation, greenhouse gas emissions, and health problems such as asthma and hearing loss. The group also cited studies that show that gas-powered lawn tools are more inefficient and costly than battery-powered or electric alternatives.

The ban would be phased in over several years, starting with city contractors and staff in January 2024, followed by business owners in January 2025, and finally the entire city in January 2026. The ban would require all gas-powered outdoor equipment to be replaced or converted to battery-powered or electric models by the respective deadlines. The ban would also require all gas-powered outdoor equipment stands to cease their operations or switch to selling or renting battery-powered or electric equipment by January 2025.

However, the ban has faced opposition from some city commissioners, who have expressed reservations about the cost, supply, fairness, and feasibility of the change. During a workshop on July 10, 2021, City Manager Laurence Christian raised concerns about the cost of replacing all gas-powered equipment in the city’s public works and parks offices, which he estimated at $250,000. He also mentioned potential supply issues and the need for changes to personnel.

Commissioner Toni Sharp expressed concern about the cost to the city and the fairness of singling out one type of business for changes. She pointed out that the city has not taken action on single-use plastics or straws due to the potential impact on businesses.

Commissioner Edward Chrzanowski, who leads the environment group, argued that climate change is a pressing issue for the city and that the committee had previously recommended moving forward with a climate action plan.

Commissioner Tim Bennett raised concerns about what would happen if a disaster cut off power to the city’s battery-powered equipment. Chrzanowski responded that emergency measures could be put in place if necessary.

Commissioner Jay Lagree spoke in favor of the change and suggested that contractors should be required to use temporary power instead of running generators all day on building sites.

Commissioner Francis “Bunky” Markert acknowledged that gas-powered lawn care equipment is a significant source of pollution but suggested that homeowners could reduce their use of such equipment by having smaller lawns and more plants.

Two local residents also expressed their views on the proposed ban, one against it and one in favor of an afternoon ban due to noise concerns.

Ultimately, most commissioners decided not to move forward with the proposed ban at this time. They agreed to revisit the issue at a later date after gathering more information and feedback from stakeholders.