The Backyard Besieged

Environmentalists and regulators want to stifle that suburban icon, the noisy, air-fouling lawn mower

Ah, the joys of summer. The scent of fresh-cut grass. Water sprinklers spraying. Flowers flourishing by the porch. Neatly trimmed hedges. The American suburban dream in full bloom.

But wait! There's trouble in paradise. You can hear it on most summer mornings and evenings, and sometimes all day long, in the distance or as close as your next-door neighbor's: the whine and roar of power lawn mowers, leaf blowers, chain saws and other unbelievably grating gizmos, grinding away to keep that cherished patch of lawn tidy and green.

And the noise is the least of it. It turns out that America's...

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