SURFING A PRO-POLLUTION WAVE?
Is Charles Doane surfing the Washington propollution wave in his article Children of the Corn (August)? While there is no doubt that ethanol fuel is harmful to outboard engines, what does he mean by “irrational toilet laws,” as well as banning of two-stroke engines and toxic bottom paint (which he spins as “effective bottom paint,” implying incorrectly that the legal and safe option is not effective).
There are three types of toilet systems called Marine Sanitation Devices, or MSDs. Types I and II allow discharge of treated waste with low coliform counts and no solids. Type III is a holding tank for pumping out. Doane considers the requirement for an MSD to be irrational? Perhaps he’s not a swimmer or is boating in the wrong millennium.
The high discharge from two-cycle engines has been well documented, with as much as one-third of the oil and petrol mixture discharged unburned into the water. While the results of studies vary, most show that two-cycle engines are serious polluters and inefficient.
He is concerned about allowing E15 while noting that he only burns a few gallons of gasoline a year. Find a marina that sells ethanol-free fuel and fill a fivegallon container. It will last 2.5 years. — Larry Schnell, Cooperstown, NY Yes, I am well aware of the three types of MSDs. What I find irrational is that types I and II, the more effective onboard treatment devices, have been crippled by the great proliferation of No Discharge Zones, where even treated waste can’t be pumped overboard. In most places we must use Type III devices and store our waste onboard while searching for pump-out stations that are few and far between. In a rational regime types I and II would be favored, not prejudiced. As to bottom paint, I have tried many eco-alternatives and none are nearly as effective as paints which are banned for recreational use, but are still allowed for commercial use. The total surface area of commercial bottoms far exceeds recreational ones. Banning toxic paint for recreational use only does little for the environment and is arguably unconstitutional. Finally, I have found relatively few marinas selling ethanol-free fuel. Rather than pollute our gas with alcohol, we need to move to less messy alternatives—propane or electric—as noted in my column. — Charles J. Doane
If you are looking for marine fuel, you might look at pure-gas.org. The site shows locations of stations selling non-ethanol fuel. Choose your state and you will get an alphabetical list of cities.
— C. Henry Depew, Tallahassee, FL
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