Letter: Focus on substantive environmental change — not leafblowers

April 20, 2023

Has anybody read ISO New England’s (the energy regulator for all of New England) 2021 report, which indicates that 95 percent of New England’s electricity in 2021 was derived from “non-renewable” energy sources? Do folks not realize that we are burning fossil fuels and utilizing radioactive nuclear energy to charge batteries (which are toxic in themselves) to power an electric leaf blower? 

I work in renewable energy development. We should be focusing all of our efforts on enacting substantive environmental change, such as installing ground-source heat pumps in our homes, installing solar on our roofs, installing a hybrid water heater, and driving a green-hydrogen-powered Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV).Why not focus all of our energy on the big issues first? Your biggest CO2 emitters are your home and your car. Would we rather focus on the big environmental issues first, which can be solved fairly quickly on an individual level, or focus on making negligible environmental improvements now (leaf blowers) while simultaneously kicking the can down the road on the serious environmental challenges (powering your home and car)?

Noise? I have both an electric and gas-powered leaf blower. The noise level between the two is negligible, so we as residents are receiving noise disruption with either solution. I work from home and do not mind my neighbors utilizing a gas-powered leaf blower because that means the job will get done in less than half the time with about the same level of noise pollution. 

Who would really be impacted by a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers? Low-income workers who traditionally work landscaping jobs. We as a town sure wouldn’t be acting very equitable by negatively impacting those workers who can least afford to be impacted.

Ben Slayden

Hillside Ave