The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is committed to addressing global climate change. During GIE+EXPO, Kris Kiser, vice president of public affairs for OPEI, announced several areas of focus to address public policy issues that impact the industry.


 


Carbon


Turfgrass plays an important role in reducing our carbon footprint. To explore the carbon issue in depth, OPEI charged Dr. Ron Sahu, an independent energy and environment expert, to perform a study on the carbon benefit of turfgrass in early 2008 based on existing scientific studies and models. The report of his finding, titled Technical Assessment of the Carbon Sequestration Potential of Managed Turfgrass in the United States, showed a net carbon benefit exists from well-managed turfgrasses. OPEI will continue to advocate for the role of responsibly managed turfgrass in the carbon offset debate and demonstrate, through research, the value of turfgrass in addition to other carbon-offsetting plants, shrubs and trees. Cap and trade could soon include a carbon credit for removing asphalt and planting turf.


 


Ethanol


With efforts to push for greater ethanol use, OPEI senses that the political environment for a renewable fuels mandate will remain active. OPEI continues to remind the Department of Energy and EPA that it needs more and better information to ensure consumers and retailers are protected from product failure and performance issues from higher ethanol fuel blends. OPEI will continue to advocate from more comprehensive studies to secure comprehensive and credible emissions data, including exhaust, evaporative and permeation effects of E10 and higher fuel blends.


 


Water


Water is an “investment” in landscaping and turfgrass that brings comprehensive environmental, health and savings benefits. OPEI will work with its coalition partners to educate the public on what, when and where to plant turfgrass.