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Tuesday, February 1, 2000

Smokey Briggs


By Smokey Briggs

Save the earth ...

drive old Impalas

Environmentalist made a hard about-face last week.

A few years back the federal government, at the strident urgings of the "greenies," ordered that all gasoline sold in areas with significant air pollution must be oxygenated.

Oxygenated fuels are supposed to burn cleaner.(They also make your car run like one spark plug is missing).

To accomplish this oxygenation, the gasoline manufacturers added stuff called MTBE.

Well, it turns out that the cure may be worse than the sickness.

MTBE it seems, is now contaminating the water system and states are scrambling to get MTBE out of gasoline.

Which leaves me with one question: didn't anybody wonder what large quantities of MTBE would do when we started adding it to gasoline, and hence the environment?

Is it too much to ask that someone research the possible down-side of something and not just the positive effect they are interested in?

Seriously, this isn't rocket science.

But it is a symptom of a much bigger problem.

The problem, is that almost all "green," so-called environmentally friendly legislation, is created on emotion and not logic and fact.

Some egghead decided harmful exhausts had to be reduced and found a way to do it. Unfortunately, the moron didn't bother to ask the next logical question - duh, what is this MTBE stuff going to do?

Or, more than likely, he did and he told everyone he could, but the "environmentalist" didn't want to hear the downside and just wouldn't listen. They just heard, "fewer pollutants," and took off like crazed chickens on a mission.

Environmentalists seem willing to believe anything if it is coated with the right sentiment - it doesn't matter if it makes sense, or if it is true - only that the preacher claims good intentions for the environment.

Take the latest feel-good environmental fad - getting older cars that pollute more off the road.

Seems to make good sense right. Just look at the crud coming out the tail pipe of that old Impala. You can see and smell the bad stuff.


Yes the old Impala pollutes more than the new model plasticmobiles. But you would have to drive it at lest another 50 years to pollute the earth to the same degree that manufacturing a new "earth friendly" automobile will.

You would probably have to drive it 75 years, and leave it idling 24 hours-a-day to create the same pollutants created in the production of a really earth-friendly electric car.

But do the "greenies" take note?


They fixate on the tail-pipe of the Impala like lemmings heading off the edge of an ice flow and condemn everybody who is really trying to do their part and conserve the earth's resources.

So the next time you get stuck at a traffic light next to some yuppie in a new, environmentally friendly box of plastic with a "save the earth" bumper sticker, rev up the old family wagon and let them know that you are serious about saving the earth.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the Pecos Enterprise whose column appears on Tuesdays. He can be e-mailed at:

Our View

Pecos remembers the sound of freedom

There are a lot of Pecos citizens who still remember when the "sound of freedom" filled the air over Pecos during World War II - when the air base churned out a new crop of pilots every couple of months.

Back then, most folks probably didn't mind the buzzing drone of the aircraft.

Right now there are still a lot of hard words flying around about the Air Force training flights scheduled to take place over Reeves County in the future.

Folks have outlined concerns about the low-flying bombers scaring livestock, contaminating cantaloupes, and creating too much noise.

The problem with frightened livestock makes sense. On the other hand, most animals will get used to about anything after it happens a couple of times.

The problem with jet exhaust contaminating cantaloupes and other crops doesn't seem to hold up under scrutiny.

The noise?

Well, it is noise, and noise in general is bad.

Where we seem to be at this point in the debate is an acknowledgement that the Air Force needs to train in realistic conditions, but we don't want them to do it in our backyard.

The question then becomes, "whose backyard should they do it in?"

Just where should the Air Force fly low-level training missions?

It is hard to find a more suitable area than this part of West Texas.

Population density is very low, especially outside of the towns.

Most livestock is widely dispersed compared with other agricultural areas.

So where else should this kind of training take place?

The one option that is not an option is not allowing these pilots and flight crews to train.

Their lives, and indirectly, our lives, depend on their skills. And you don't learn how to do the job by reading about it, or flying computer simulators.

You learn how to do the job by training in conditions as close to the real thing as you can get.

When you get down to it, there is no perfect solution. The Air Force has to train, and those planes have to fly over somebody's land.

And that means some noise, and maybe a few other problems.

But the alternative is a lot worse.

And when you get down to it, the "sound of freedom" is a pretty cheap price to pay for the life we enjoy.

Your View

Many `Angels' help out during recent tragedy

To The Editor:

I would like to thank the people of Pecos,Tx. for their kindness to my family during a recent tragedy.

My mother was killed on interstate 10 in a traffic accident. The people of your fine town were gracious and true angels.


Reader thanks newspaper for opportunity to write

To The Editor:
Just a big thank you for the staff and judges who took time to read my story. Although I was disappointed, I hadn't expected to receive the judges result, and of course there were several mistakes.

Nonetheless, thanks for the opportunity to write this story. I guess you could say that I kind of rushed through the story and did not re-read for errors, which is no excuse. Keep up the good work with the Enterprise, I am avid reader of your newspaper on the Internet.


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