A Big and Intriguing Move from the Power-Equipment Lobby

The power-equipment lobby, announcing that it has hired a battery-equipment specialist.

The power-equipment lobby, announcing that it has hired a battery-equipment specialist.

Over the years, the analyses and arguments on the site have contended that shifting away from outdated gas-powered lawn equipment amounts to “accelerating the inevitable.”

That is, two-stroke gas-powered equipment is already many decades past its technological prime. Cleaner, quieter alternatives, in the form of battery-powered equipment, are improving rapidly in price and performance. And the evidence about the public-health and environmental toll of these outdated machines continues to mount.

Thus the significance of a move this month from the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, which is the DC-area lobby for lawn-equipment manufacturers.

At the hearing before the Washington D.C. City Council’s Committee of the Whole this past July, OEPI’s representative barely even pretended to deal with testimony about the uniquely penetrating acoustic qualities of gas-powered lawn equipment. Nor did he address the resulting health damage to lawn-crew workers and the community as a whole.

Instead he met all complaints by saying that “more considerate” use of the machinery was the answer. This has been the lobby’s position for decades, with a (non) effect that can be judged by anyone who has seen urban lawn crews in action.

After the hearing came not an attempt to shore up the evidence or testimony, but instead an intriguingly different move. OEPI, for decades the center of support for old-style gas-powered machines, has hired a new specialist in battery-powered equipment! According to a story in a trade journal, Irrigation and Green Industry:

“We’re excited to have Brandon [Martin] join the staff here at OPEI,” says Kris Kiser, OPEI President and CEO. “His experience in product development, channel support, and marketing will make him a key part of our team as we continue to expand our staff expertise in the battery and electric product space.”

We’re excited too. Congratulations.