It’s time for the Montclair government to move away from gas-powered snowblowers as well (town square)

Autumn Mott Rodeheaver via Unsplash

Several community organization leaders sent the following letter to Montclair Township Superintendent Tim Stafford on February 2 as part of an effort organized by Quiet Montclair, which opposes the use of leaf blowers petrol. Band member Peter Holm told the local Montclair that as of March 2, the writers had not heard back.

In February 2021, Montclair Township Council passed Ordinance O-21-01, amending Montclair’s longstanding Gas Leaf Blower (GLB) law to further restrict their use, and the Township took measures to promote better compliance with the law by landscaping companies. , property managers and residents.

These actions significantly reduced air and noise pollution in Montclair between May and October of last year, and we thank you for your leadership in moving them forward.

As you know, the use of GLBs generates significant risks for public health, the natural environment and the quality of life, and the workers who use these tools are the most exposed to the dangers. At the same time, the performance and cost-effectiveness of commercial-grade battery-electric alternatives have improved dramatically in recent years.

On behalf of the organizations we lead, we urge you to ensure that the township government takes further action to honor the purpose of the law.

Montclair backtracks on gas blower season extension

It is our understanding that the Montclair Department of Community Services still uses GLBs to maintain municipal properties throughout the year, although other local governments (e.g. Maplewood, Princeton, Westfield) have begun efforts to keep their grounds maintenance equipment away from GLBs and other gases. from power tools to safer, healthier and greener battery-powered alternatives.

The Township’s inaction puts employees and community members at unnecessary risk. It also raises questions of fairness and arguably weakens compliance with the law, as many businesses and residents wonder why they should obey a law that the township does not apply to itself.

Here are some examples of actions the township could take to address these concerns:

  1. Begin replacing gasoline-powered grounds maintenance equipment with battery-powered power tools through regular capital replacement cycles, beginning with GLBs.
  2. Pending this replacement, eliminate or at least minimize the use of GLBs by the municipality during the periods of the year and the hours of the day when their use is prohibited by § 217-6 of the municipal code (Montclair regulation on the noise of gas-powered leaf blowers), thereby approaching or achieving consistency with what is required of other property owners and managers.
  3. 3. To the extent that the Township contracts with private companies to perform grounds maintenance tasks, make the year-round use of battery-operated power and/or hand tools a significant “plus” in the awarding of contracts.

We recognize that commercial-grade, high-performance battery-electric equipment may cost slightly more to purchase than traditional gasoline-powered equipment, and some adjustments to operational practices and supporting infrastructure (e.g., recharging, additional batteries) are required. However, the operational savings associated with the proper use of battery electrical equipment have been shown to cover and exceed the initial investment costs over time, not to mention the health and environmental benefits that begin to accrue. accumulate immediately.

Non-profit professional assistance is available to help municipal governments make this transition effectively and efficiently. for example, Westfield recently engaged with the American Green Zone Alliance (agza.net) to do so.

Montclair has long been one of New Jersey’s leading municipalities on environmental issues, and the township government has an important role to play in setting a positive example for the entire community. This is an opportunity to strengthen Montclair’s environmental legacy, improve worker and public health, and improve quality of life while reducing annual operating costs and eliminating the disparate treatment of services. municipalities versus residents, businesses and other non-governmental entities.

Thank you for your dedication to the health and well-being of the people of Montclair and for your conscientious stewardship of the environment we all inhabit together.

Peter Holm and Deb Ellis
Calm Montclair

Norm Solomon, J.D.
Environmental Committee of the League of Women Voters of the Montclair region

Jose German-Gomez
Northeast Land Coalition

David Wasmuth
Montclair Backyard Habitat Project CC: Township Council Members

Reverend Anya Sammler-Michael
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Montclair

Susan Craig
Montclair Seniors Advisory Committee (Note: Craig has resigned from his role on the committee since this letter was sent to township officials)

David Korfage
Montclair Climate Action


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