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Letters to the editor: Boulder should outlaw gas mowers; ozone penalties unwarranted; district is valuable; small business owners need help too


Rob Gordon: Environment: Boulder should force switch to electric lawn mowers

California has set the standard moving forward for finally fighting air pollution with its new law regarding electric cars. Maybe, Boulder can do its part by outlawing what is, in my opinion, the worst of all air and noise polluters: the lawn mower and its close cousins the leaf blower and weed wacker.

There are many homeowners in Boulder that hire lawn service companies to care for their yards. It’s a simple solution for the city: If you want to do business in the city of Boulder, replace your polluting lawn mower with an electric one. During one of my walks close to CU, I actually saw a lawn service company with a sign on the side of their truck advertising they only use electric lawn tools.

If we as a city can take this step forward we can set the standard for other communities to do the same and before you know it we are all breathing fresh air and hearing the birds sing.

Rob Gordon, Boulder

Dave Larison: Emissions: Proposed ozone penalties unwarranted

The Denver Post’s descriptions of “foul smog” hovering over the metro area make it sound like the region has returned to the depths of the brown cloud era of 50 years ago.

Denver’s 8-hour ozone averages peaked at a staggering 310 parts per billion (ppb) in 1972.  Decades later, through proper regulations and vehicle emissions testing, 8-hour averages in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) most recent evaluation period (2018-2020) have admirably been reduced to 81 ppb.

Primarily under Democratic administrations, the EPA keeps lowering its ozone public health standard, initially 120 ppb in 1979 (1-hour), then progressively dropping to 8-hour averages of 80 ppb in 1997, 75 ppb in 2008 and the present-day 70 ppb adopted in 2015.

Ozone at 70 ppb has potential harm to only a very small, sensitive portion of the population and should not be used to trigger Ozone Action Alert Days.  It’s become a cry wolf scenario for the general public and very few people restrict their driving over the excessive alerts.

Denver’s 81 ppb ozone averages are only infinitesimally above EPA’s very rigid standards. Compared to the 300 ppb levels of yesteryear, it would be a travesty to force expensive and less energy efficient E15 gasoline (15% ethanol) on the northern Front Range driving public.

Dave Larison, Longmont

Michelle Denae: Library District: Even though Niwot is mostly excluded, district is still valuable

I am a resident of Niwot and a supporter of the proposed library district, even though Niwot has been removed from the boundaries. I’m writing because I read an opinion piece from folks in the Lake Valley area who are upset about being included in the district, but who seem to forget that they actually get to vote on it regardless of whether or not they would utilize and benefit from the services provided.

While Niwot is no longer included in the district that goes to ballots this November, I wish I could have voted, because I would have voted yes. The district boundaries included Niwot and surrounding areas in 2019 at the suggestion of the previous county commissioners, who supported the creation of a library district. Plenty of outreach, including in-person community meetings at the Niwot Grange from library representatives and county-led public hearings, has been done over the three ensuing years.

If the district passes, a Gunbarrel branch would be established, which many in Niwot would no doubt use, benefit from and celebrate, including me and my two kids. I urge my fellow county folks to vote yes, and bring the amazing array of benefits that libraries bring closer to home.

Michelle Denae, Niwot

Richard Lee Landrum II: Student loans: What about a small-business owner who took out loans?

I’m a machinist. I didn’t go to college, I learned my trade. I now own a small manufacturing business, and I work six, sometimes seven days a week. I have toiled for years to be where I am, and I’m not rich. Years of having my back against overdraft protection, and often in it. I have loans. Where’s my debt forgiveness?

The nation’s federal student debt now tops $1.6 trillion. As of the 2019-20 academic year, there were 5,999 Title IV institutions in the U.S., according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Well, 1.6 trillion divided by 5,999 Title IV institutions equals over 266 million each. Will the colleges/universities be forced to help cover this cost, or will it be foisted entirely upon the taxpayers?

Richard Lee Landrum II, Longmont