A grassroots uprising in Montclair, including town council members, worked long and hard to get this town to change its environmentally destructive and soul crushing use of gas-powered leaf blowers, and we were successful. 

Unlike truly progressive towns across the nation that have banned them entirely, we have not been able to do that, but at least they are now limited to two months in the fall and two months in the spring

Most people in this town, if asked, would say they care about climate change and their children’s health and future. Yet this sickening practice, based on denial of the true environmental impact, continues in which the truth is blatantly ignored — that the use of gas-powered leaf blowers for just one hour is as polluting as driving a truck 1,000 miles; that each time they are used millions of toxic particulates are spewed; that the sound is deafening and damaging to humans, animals and birds; and that the earth needs leaves to regenerate soil and nurture life. 

Instead of using our lawns and trees to create a safer, greener world, this week the town changed the public policy we fought hard for and extended the use period by another two weeks. It is not right for one or two town officials to change public policy we worked so hard to change.

Please explain to me how you feel this is justified?

The law is admirably clear: "The Township of Montclair hereby finds that unlimited use of leafblowers powered by internal combustion engines impairs the economic and social welfare, health, peace and quality of life of persons residing in Montclair. The purpose of this section is to minimize the adverse impact of such equipment by restricting its use within the township."

It is time for the township management to get serious about honoring this purpose. 

Leah Katz

Editor's note: In the time since the author submitted this letter, Montclair has rescinded its extension of the gas leaf blower season.


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