Prefiled bill places restrictions on gas powered outdoor power equipment; pushes toward zero emissions

A bill prefiled ahead of the upcoming legislative session would prohibit gas powered chainsaws, lawn mowers, and other outdoor equipment, instead incentivizing zero emission models for the future.

Representative Amy Walen has prefiled House Bill 1868 ahead of the legislative session with the intent to have it introduced when the House of Representatives convenes starting in January.

The bill, if passed, would establish temporary sales and use tax relief and a temporary grant program for zero emissions landscaping equipment to accelerate the phasing out of fossil fuel-powered equipment in transitioning to cleaner alternatives, and to restrict the introduction of new fossil fuel powered outdoor landscaping equipment.

The term outdoor power equipment refers to those with a less than 25 horsepower engine. This includes outdoor lawnmowers, chainsaws, leaf blowers, log splitters, weedeaters, and more.

Under the bill, it states that gasoline-powered and diesel-powered landscaping and other outdoor power equipment emit a host of air pollutants that contribute to climate change and negatively impact public health. The bill cites data from the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation to bolster the claim.

In addition to climate-related issues, Walen states that small gas engines used in lawn and garden equipment can also cause asthma, hearing loss, and other health issues, especially for workers who regularly use them. This is in addition to the noise that could be a nuisance to communities.

She states that “Going electric can generate health benefits and protect those who have to hear, handle, and inhale gas engines for hours on end.”

The bill notes that “In some instances, electric and battery-operated equipment are just as powerful as gas, and more efficient.”

If passed, retail sales tax would be eliminated on the zero emissions outdoor power equipment, and local governments may be issued grants to replace their existing equipment with a zero emissions alternative, with $5 million per year being put toward the effort.

The bill would set a timeframe to prohibit engine exhaust and emissions from new outdoor power equipment produced after January 1, 2026 or as soon as feasible.

The rules would not apply if suitable zero emissions outdoor power equipment technology does not exist for certain products.