Bill would block cities from reducing pollution from leaf blowers and other lawn equipment

SB 1017 would blow local control away

© Bambulla | | Used by permission

SB 1017 would preempt cities from being able to regulate lawn equipment, including noisy and polluting leaf blowers, or incentivize a switch to quieter, cleaner equipment. Even incentives for electric could be considered “indirectly” restricting in this overly-broad bill.

2- and 4-cycle small engines (like most lawn equipment) produce ozone-causing noxious chemicals, asthma-inducing particulates, and cancer-causing hydrocarbons at up to 300 times the rate of F-150 trucks. Ground-level ozone (O3) and fine particulates (PM2.5) are known or likely to cause hundreds of thousands of childhood asthma cases in Texas, COPD, cardiovascular disease, birth defects, low birthweight, and premature death.

In 2018, gas-powered lawn equipment in the U.S. also used an estimated 3 billion gallons of gas, with 17 million gallons of gasoline spilled to the ground or water. And they’re loud and annoying.

Electric leaf blowers, mowers and weed eaters are far cleaner than gas-powered versions and many are less expensive, both now and in long-term costs. And they work great.

Cities across Texas and the U.S. are trying to improve the air quality, health, and quality of life for their residents. Maplewood, NJ began by limiting leaf blowing to fall and winter months on weekdays and Saturday mornings only, similar to regulations in Newton, MA. SB 1017 would end a city’s ability to adopt similar, reasonable policies. We all have the right to breathe clean air. Voters in communities across Texas should have the right to tell local leaders what priorities they care about, but these bills silence voter voices when we could be silencing noisy leaf blowers. Please let communities work together to find their own best solutions.


Heather Jefts

Policy Intern

Heather, along with being a policy intern for Environment Texas, is studying Sustainability and Economics at the University of Texas-Austin. She has a passion for urban planning and design, and ensuring our built landscape incorporates elements to feed our souls and enrich the environment. Her commitment to community service led her to run for and win election to Cedar Park’s City Council and serve as a Board member of Williamson County Children’s Advocacy Center. Heather was named a Fellow in the UT Law Center for Public Policy and Dispute Resolution. Heather’s policy work aims to safeguard our air, water, and resources for the next several generations of Texans.

Luke Metzger

Executive Director, Environment Texas

As the executive director of Environment Texas, Luke is a leading voice in the state for clean air and water, parks and wildlife, and a livable climate. Luke recently led the successful campaign to get the Texas Legislature and voters to invest $1 billion to buy land for new state parks. He also helped win permanent protection for the Christmas Mountains of Big Bend; helped compel Exxon, Shell and Chevron Phillips to cut air pollution at four Texas refineries and chemical plants; and got the Austin and Houston school districts to install filters on water fountains to protect children from lead in drinking water. The San Antonio Current has called Luke "long one of the most energetic and dedicated defenders of environmental issues in the state." He has been named one of the "Top Lobbyists for Causes" by Capitol Inside, received the President's Award from the Texas Recreation and Parks Society for his work to protect Texas parks. He is a board member of the Clean Air Force of Central Texas and an advisory board member of the Texas Tech University Masters of Public Administration program. Luke, his wife, son and daughters are working to visit every state park in Texas.