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Encinitas Latest California City To Ban Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers

Brian Bishop demonstrates how his gas leaf blowers work, Dec. 18, 2019.

Photo by Roland Lizarondo

Above: Brian Bishop demonstrates how his gas leaf blowers work, Dec. 18, 2019.

Encinitas is the latest San Diego County city to implement a gas-powered leaf blower ban.

Starting Friday, all businesses and commercial operators are barred from using the gas blowers and residents have to stop using them by mid-January.

Encinitas officials say using electric blowers will make the city quieter and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.The California Air Resources Board says running a commercial leaf blower for an hour emits pollution comparable to driving a mid-sized car 1,110 miles.

But Brian Bishop, who owns Bishop's Tree Service, says the ordinance is overkill.

"Is it irritating? Do people abuse them? Yes, absolutely they do — do I know people who blow their property every single day? Yeah," said Bishop, who operates in Encinitas. "But anyone who is in the trades uses it for the minimum amount of time possible."

RELATED: A Split Coronado Council Votes To Ban Gas Leaf Blowers

While city officials tout electric blowers as a viable alternative, Bishop says the costs are prohibitive for him and others in the landscaping business.

"The thought on electric leaf blowers is it’s very limited," Bishop said. "Do I have one? Yes, a little one for little small things, but to blow this kind of air — this (gas-powered) is a $700 blower. The equivalent (electric) is going to cost you $2,200 with two batteries."

He added that the lithium-ion batteries in electric blowers have their own environmental cost. "You’re bringing in a new toxin," he said.

Bishop voiced his objections at an August meeting of the Encinitas City Council when the council unanimously approved the ban.

"I question all the new blowers that are coming on the market — the battery ones," he said during public comment.

Despite the ban, Bishop said he does not have plans to get rid of his gas blowers anytime soon.

"No absolutely not — they’re functional tools," he said. "Will I maybe try one of the other ones? Maybe, if I absolutely must but I don’t like the idea of the lithium ion batteries."

Encinitas has rebate program to help businesses and residents transition away from gas blowers. Officials said nearly 80 people have gotten rebates.

Those who violate the law risk a $100 fine for a first offense, $200 for a second and $1000 for additional violations.

Listen to this story by Matt Hoffman.

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Matt Hoffman
General Assignment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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