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Runway expansion bad for Aspen

Dear Editor:

As a resident of Newport Beach, Calif., since 1949, I can attest to the sparsely controlled expansions of Santa Ana Airport, DBA John Wayne Airport/Orange County. From a dirt field used by a veteran pilot, Glen Martin and a small group of ex-military pilots for general aviation, I’ve watched it grow to the fifth or sixth busiest airport in the United States.

Along with that growth, I’ve witnessed noise and air pollution that is far more than anyone in the surrounding areas should have to endure. The boating community that lies under the flight path deals with gross amounts of jet fallout daily. Nature’s fragile plants have died under the path of those hundreds of planes that take off each day. Millions of pounds of burnt fuel and some not burned fall from the sky all day long. Polluting the air we residents breathe! Due to the respiratory problems tied to fowl pollutants, I moved to Colorado in 1995, thus my concern to maintain the quality of life we live here. The many problems associated with Aspen and other airports are cancerous.

Non-regulated airport expansion world wide continues unaddressed and should be the No. 1 item to be addressed for world survival into the future. Have you heard Al Gore talk about the problems air travel costs to our ecosystem? (He owns 11 airplanes.) He flies a modified 737G approximately 6,000 hours a year. Twenty folks can hang with him on flights.

Aspen is a small, fragile city in a box canyon. Summer smog is as bad as Los Angeles or Mexico City on some hot summer days. Aspen and Pitkin County will never be able to meet their “green” goals if the airport is allowed to expand. It’s not just about the planes: What about the car trips per day generated to an almost grid-locked road system. How about those added hydrocarbons, noise and parking problems for additional staff, travelers and guests?

Your leaders are leading you down a sorry road to noise, air, light and traffic problems. Aspen’s pristine mechanized infrastructure and Mother Nature cannot live in the same box canyon. The wild flowers near the airport will die. To Brush Creek, Buttermilk, McLain Flats and Woody Creek, “I’m sorry.” For those areas mentioned, I would suggest a trip to Los Angeles to observe what is left of Playa del Rey and the beautiful homes that have been destroyed by LAX runway expansion in the 1960s. Nothing grows there anymore except for sand dunes. Maybe that is a good thing! I lived in Woody Creek in the 1960s. It was wonderful, natural and had very little airplane pollution. You also did not have to worry about a plane crashing into your home.

Owen Mine

Glenwood Springs


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