(The Center Square) – Colorado’s state agencies will soon no longer be allowed to use gas-powered equipment for lawn and garden tasks at state facilities located in certain areas.

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis issued a five-page executive order directing the Department of Public Health and Environment and the Department of Personnel and Administration to create a policy to phase out gas-powered push and hand-held lawn and garden equipment. The policy will start in ozone nonattainment areas. The feasibility of expanding the phasing out throughout the state by Jan. 31, 2024, will be explored.

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“In particular, gasoline-powered lawn and garden equipment create high levels of localized emissions that include hazardous air pollutants, criteria pollutants, and carbon dioxide emissions,” the order states. “These ‘nonroad’ emissions significantly contribute to air pollution, raising concerns about the impacts on public health. Gasoline-powered lawn and garden equipment is also exceedingly loud contributing to noise pollution as well as air pollution. The state can and now will set an example in reducing emissions by making changes in the equipment we use to care for the lands of Colorado.”

The executive order also created an Office of Sustainability for state facilities and operations. The office will implement Polis’ environmental strategy outlined in the order and other “greening government efforts.” Reducing energy, water consumption increasing the use of renewable energy, purchasing and utilizing electric cars and trucks and examining sustainability in state procurement also will handled by the new office.

“I always want to ensure that our state government is leading by example when it comes to pressing issues like the housing crisis, workforce and job creation, and now we are doubling down on our commitment to lead the way in reducing pollution,” Polis said in a statement. “We are doing our part to save people money, protect water and our planet.”

Polis also directed state agencies to develop and apply efficient or low-water landscaping policies for new construction and renovation projects at state facilities. The policy will limit bluegrass and other high-water turf grasses for use in parks, sports fields, playgrounds and other high-traffic areas.

“The water-efficient criteria shall require the installation of sustainable, drought-tolerant, and ecoregion appropriate landscaping, including native or drought-tolerant lawn grasses, and high-efficiency irrigation infrastructure in areas where high-water turf grass is non-essential, such as medians, roundabouts, parking lot islands … and areas not used for water quality,” the order stated.

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