City Moving Forward on Gas Equipment Ban


Gas powered lawn mower | Image by The Toidi/Shutterstock

The City of Dallas is continuing to develop its controversial ban on gas-powered lawn equipment, necessitating the use of tools powered by alternative means such as electricity.

City staff began working on this measure last year, citing concerns over health, noise, and the environment. The City is continuing to develop the prohibition despite state legislation that could potentially prevent enforcement of the measure.

Two identical bills filed in the Texas House of Representatives by Reps. Briscoe Cain (R-Baytown) and Jay Dean (R-Longview) would prevent municipalities from instituting prohibitions on the use and sale of gas-powered lawn equipment.

City staff are currently working on a “5-year Landscape Equipment Transition Plan” and briefed council members on the progress of this plan during an Environment and Sustainability Committee meeting on Tuesday.

Responding to an inquiry from the committee’s vice-chair, Council Member Paul Ridley, Director Carlos Evans of the Office of Environmental Quality and Sustainability said the staff are “on target” to have the proposal completed by June.

The completed proposal will be presented to the Environment and Sustainability committee in June, after which it will go before the full City Council.

Evans assured Ridley that the council could vote on the ordinance at the end of June rather than waiting until after the summer recess of July.

Evans said his department is working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) “on developing potential language for the plan.”

“We’re also meeting with various other departments to ensure that we have the appropriate inventory … to evaluate what 20% of equipment we can transition this calendar year,” he continued.

While the proposal is not yet finalized, it would first phase out the use of gas-powered tools for municipal departments before requiring that contractors, businesses, and residents — in that order — cease using them.

Evans indicated that staff aim to transition at least one-fifth of municipal equipment away from gas power by the end of 2023.

Council Member Carolyn King Arnold raised concerns about potential conflict between this proposal and the aforementioned state legislation and said the City is moving at a quicker pace than the state. However, the 88th Texas Legislature will end on May 29 — before this proposal goes before the council in June.

Evans said staff are examining the current bills in the state legislature and monitoring their progress.

“There are definitely some legal parameters that we have to think through,” he said, adding that his department is in the midst of discussions “with TCEQ to figure out exactly what can be in this plan.”

Depending on the outcome of these discussions, the ordinance that goes before the council in the summer may be less focused on equipment restrictions and include more incentive programs.

Evans said the proposal is being “developed with an understanding of what bills are proceeding on the state side.”

“We know which ones have legs and may pass, so that will be part of the context of the development of that plan,” he added.

Evans was clear that, should the City pass an ordinance that is then overruled by the state, “state law trumps municipal law, and so that will definitely impact any plan that’s adopted by the city council.”

Council Member Arnold said she wanted to make it understood that “there’s a possibility that we may very well pass an ordinance that we may very well have to moonwalk on in order to be in compliance [with state law],” even though the council will vote on this ordinance after the end of the current state legislative session.

The Dallas Express reached out to Arnold’s office for comment and clarification but did not receive a response by the publication deadline.

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14 days ago

Virtue signalling city government expending resources on an unpopular, unproven law that might soon be declared invalid instead of fixing the roads, fixing the permitting process, cleaning up homeless camps, etc.

You think they would’ve learned after they passed the mandatory sick leave law that they knew was already being threatened by court challenges in San Antonio before they drafted it.

These people are mentally deficient.

Reply to  Scooterville
13 days ago

Your last sentence says it all.

fed up with Dallas County
fed up with Dallas County
14 days ago

With murder and crime completely out of control in Dallas this is what the council is focusing on? City council gas bags emit more CO2 in a single session (2.2 pounds per day per council member) than my lawn mower emits in a year. Figuratively speaking we’d be better off if they – the city council – simply stopped breathing.

Reply to  fed up with Dallas County
13 days ago

They have to pass another controversial law they know will probably get struck just like when they passed the mandatory sick leave law. “We like to virtue signal because we think our constituents are as stupid as we are.”

13 days ago

This Climate Change “CO2 is bad” narrative is only about controlling people and businesses.
None of these Climate Change folks know about Maurice Strong…the main guy who ushered in the scenarios.
Most folks don’t know that the IPCC (per their website) actually first establishes the Climate goals/objectives, then has the scientist segment write up documents which support the concepts and objectives…You can’t make this stuff up.