Thomas Gallatin / October 14, 2021

California Clobbers Lawn and Garden Contractors

Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law banning the sale of off-road gas-powered engines.

California Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom has signed yet another ecofascist bill into law in a state that leads the nation in ecofascism. The law will ban the sale of all new off-road gasoline-powered engines, which includes everything from weed eaters to chainsaws to golf carts beginning in January 2024. California already outlawed gas-powered automobiles by 2035, so why not?

When the law goes into effect, all newly sold off-road engines will need to be zero-carbon emissions, which essentially means battery-powered or plug-in electric. Because batteries are made of fairy dust and electricity comes from unicorns. Indeed, 68% of the electricity to power those electric motors and batteries comes from non-renewable sources, when the grid is not dead under a rolling blackout. And 32% of that power is imported from other states.

The bill’s author, Democrat Marc Berman, downplayed the economic impact of the new law: “This is a pretty modest approach to trying to limit the massive amounts of pollution that this equipment emits, not to mention the health impact on the workers who are using it constantly. It’s amazing how people react when they learn how much this equipment pollutes, and how much smog forming and climate changing emissions that small off-road engine equipment creates.”

While Berman’s concern for workers’ health may be admirable (ahem), his seeming lack of concern for their continued employment is not. The new law is estimated to have a direct and significant negative impact on more than 50,000 small businesses in the Golden State, many of which are Hispanic-owned. While California plans to throw some $30 million in taxpayer dollars at lawn care industry professionals to help offset the immense hit to their bottom lines, the National Association of Landscape Professionals estimates that the cost of purchasing less efficient electric equipment will be more than double the price of more efficient gas-powered equipment.

Even an analysis of the bill by the California Assembly notes how difficult compliance will be. “For commercial uses,” it says, “there is very little market for zero-emission equipment as today’s technology is relatively expensive and requires multiple batteries and/or frequent recharging and replacement.” By the way, such equipment “may be inadequate even if money is no object, particularly when used in rural areas without convenient access to recharging.” Never mind the real world. California’s Democrats will mandate a market.

One of the markets they’ll create, by the way, is for out-of-state sales of gas-powered engines. Another alternative for many professionals will be using older equipment longer.

Newsom and his ecofascist ilk may be hell-bent on ridding California of fossil fuel-based carbon emissions, but his green agenda will do little to preserve the environment. In fact, Newsom may have ensured that California’s problem with seasonal wildfires will only grow worse, as the law makes it much more difficult to address the clearing of the state’s forests without the use of efficient gas-powered equipment like chainsaws. One thing’s for sure: The air in California won’t be free of carbon emissions with half the state’s forests on fire every summer.

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