As leaves begin to fall across Northwest, leaf blowers have been revving up to combat them. Autumn also brings an annual cacophony over complaints about excessive noise from the gas-powered machines.
A bill pending before the D.C. Council would ban the use of gas-powered leaf blowers within the District starting in 2022, as requested by various community members who have cited concerns regarding both noise and pollution.
But in the time since Ward 3 member Mary Cheh first introduced the measure in January 2016, it has never made it to a committee hearing. The 2016 bill was referred to the Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs, which had tentatively planned a hearing that fall. But leaf blowers were lost in the shuffle after the committee’s chair, Vincent Orange, lost his re-election bid, took another job and resigned from the council before completing his term.
Cheh introduced this year’s version of the bill in April, co-sponsored by Kenyan McDuffie of Ward 5, Charles Allen of Ward 6 and at-large members Anita Bonds and David Grosso. It was referred to the council’s Committee of the Whole, led by Chairman Phil Mendelson, who hasn’t yet held a hearing.
“They’re just not doing anything — nothing’s scheduled, nothing’s planned,” Cheh said in an interview. “I know we have lots of other stuff, and I would bet the chairman is almost singularly focused on how we’re going to pay for the paid leave bill. … And after we get past that, he probably has a number of other things to clean up.”