Letters 4/21/22

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Wrong Way

Encouraging use of E-85 is a wrong way to go.  Even changing E-10 to E-15 is a poor idea. E-85 is 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Our gasoline is currently E-10 containing 10% ethanol.

President Biden’s proposal to push E-85 in Colorado takes place just as the EPA points to our smog problems getting worse. E-85 may be a political solution to Biden’s popularity problems in corn growing states like Iowa, but it does nothing to clear the smog or slow climate chaos. And it does nothing for asthmatic kids and old folks with breathing problems.  

Using more ethanol in fuel drives up corn prices because making it competes for animal feed. Running E-85 in older model engines without specialized tuning and replacing some components will degrade the engine in shorter time. If cars are not precisely adjusted for its use, E-85 may cause pre-ignition that damages engines. E-85 damages fuel system components, e.g. magnesium, aluminum, rubber hoses, gaskets and fuel filters. Because it absorbs water from the air, it may corrode fuel tanks.

Buyers operate under the illusion that they are getting a bargain, but along with the lower cost, they get lower miles per gallon and more fuel system repairs. 

Folks who own cars that might use E-85 are generally less able to retune their older vehicles to take even slight advantage of its doubtful benefits. What might be done? 

1) Urge Biden to negotiate a settlement in Ukraine so the “war machine” isn’t using hydrocarbon fuels at its current astronomical rate. 

2) Back out of the Biden Bribe to corn producers. 

3) Push public transportation. 

4) Push electric vehicles. 

5) Help renters and home owners to get better insulation and more efficient heating systems, at the same time reminding folks to put on sweaters and caps as a part of keeping warm.

Tom Moore/Boulder

Seeking Wiser Minds for CU South

With the selection of Todd Saliman as the next President, it will be business as usual at CU-Boulder. As Governor of California, Ronald Reagan ended the state’s policy of granting free college education to its citizens, his thought being that “liberal” professors were leading the hoi polloi into social protest and that universities should be run as businesses dedicated to maintaining an economic status quo. The concept of the Liberal Arts as “education of the whole person” was plainly too liberal. Universities have long had a cultural elitist stature, but increasingly this now entails having more than moderate wealth to enroll. The trend also has been that colleges and universities have become white collar trade schools—the largest, mega-corporate institutions whose business plan demands constant expansion. With Colorado and the entire West facing a millennial drought and other uncertainties of continuing climate change, how CU persists in its expansion on its “South Campus” defies educated logic. Water will be in short supply and the burning of fossil carbon must be curtailed. Wiser minds need to step forward and stop the South Campus project.

Robert Porath/Boulder 

A simple solution to airplane noise

Thanks to Boulder Weekly for running a much-needed piece on small-airplane noise (see News, “Noise from above,” April 7, 2022). It’s a shame that some pilots are persecuting those who dare complain. It’s also a shame that the FAA seems to be blocking progress here.

The good news is, there is a simple and practical solution to this problem. In Europe, they are called “hush kits,” retro-fitted mufflers for small prop-driven planes and helicopters, and the European Union has made them law. Can you imagine people arguing that muffling automobiles and trucks is a totalitarian violation of their God-given rights? Of course not. So it is with small planes and helicopters.

It’s true that muffling an engine cuts some of its power—say, about 10%. But that doesn’t affect auto safety, and it doesn’t affect small-plane or helicopter safety. In the EU, small planes are not falling out of the sky, helicopters are not crashing due to a lack of power.

And if you can afford to own a small plane or helicopter, you can afford to buy a muffler for it. What we need is national legislation insisting that small planes and helicopters be muffled. It’s the sensible and civilized thing to do, a reasonable solution that all fair-minded parties should be open to. 

Anonymous via email

Left Boulder because of airplane noise

I lived in Gunbarrel for 20 years and once RMMA (Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport) started sending all their planes up to the “northern training zone” the noise became unbearable! After meeting with every state representative, congressmen and the airport, it was clear that our only option was to move out of Boulder. It was my home of 40 years and I did not want to leave but there were no other options. So now, two years later, we are living peacefully in Evergreen, and once a week when we hear an airplane we remember how bad it was.

Dottie Ricketson/Boulder

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