Revelations of Lead Dangers at Reid-Hillview Airport Increase Pressure to Accelerate Closing

A scientific study released today shows disturbing links between pollution from piston-engine airplanes at Reid-Hillview Airport and high levels of lead in the blood of children living near the airport.

Santa Clara County supervisors had voted in 2020 to hire renowned epidemiologist Sammy Zahran to conduct the study, as community complaints about possible lead contamination grew. Zahran, a professor of demography and epidemiology at Colorado State University, was one of the key scientists investigating lead contamination of drinking water supplies in Flint, Mich.

His findings in the 131-page report released today documenting contamination from lead-based aircraft gasoline in neighborhoods surrounding the San Jose general aviation airport are likely to fuel demands to accelerate the closure of the airport, now slated for closing in 2032.

The study concluded that during periods of high piston-engine aircraft traffic, children living close to Reid-Hillview experienced an increase in blood lead levels on a par with the children of Flint, Michigan during the Flint Water Crisis.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the World Health Organization there is no safe level of lead in children’s blood because it damages children’s developing brains, among many other issues,” the report warned..

Zahran’s study examined 17,000 blood samples that were collected from 2011-2020 from children under 18 years of age living near the airport. There are 21 schools and childcare centers surrounding Reid-Hillview Airport.

The results of the study were revealed at a press conference at the East San Jose airport by County Commissioner Cindy Chavez and Mary Ann Dewan, Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools​.

Chavez called for renewed efforts to convince the Federal Aviation Administration to allow closure of the airport before the end of the last remaining federal airport grant in 10 years.

The county Board of Supervisors is hosting virtual public meetings Aug. 11 and Aug. 12 to review the results of Zahran’s study with residents of the affected neighborhoods, and will then discuss the report at a Board of Supervisors meeting at 6pm Aug. 17.

An East San José virtual community meeting will be held at 6pm, Wednesday, Aug. 11, with Chavez.

  • Join this webinar (on Zoom):
  • Residents also may call into the meeting by smartphone at: (669) 219-2599, Webinar ID 93339943986# (participant ID not required)
  • The meeting will be translated simultaneously in Spanish and Vietnamese.

A similar virtual meeting will be held for South County residents the next day, 6pm, Aug. 12,with Supervisor Mike Wasserman, who leads opposition to the airport closure

  • Join this webinar (on Zoom):
  • Residents also may also call into the meeting by smartphone at: (669) 900-6833, Webinar ID 95709413535# (participant ID not required).
  • The meeting will be translated simultaneously in Spanish and Vietnames

The Board of Supervisors last fall approved plans to prepare for the closure of Reid-Hillview Airport when federal funds expire in 2031.

This spurred a wide-ranging debate about what’s next for the 180 acres of valuable real estate, including affordable housing, social services, educational resources and open space.

The FAA has told the county that the nearly 80-year-old airfield is obligated to operate until 2031 because of a 2011 Federal Aviation Administration grant. Plans would gradually shift all of the county’s general aviation traffic south to San Martin Airport just south of Morgan Hill. County supervisors voted in 2018 to stop taking any more FAA grants the East San Jose airport, which began a repurposing debate.

Chavez has been pressing for the repurposing of the Reid-Hillview Airport as “a long overdue opportunity for residents in East San Jose to voice their aspirations on what the needs are for the 180 acres moving forward, including everything from affordable housing to recreation to schools," she said last year.

More than a dozen neighborhood meetings were held in 2020 to discuss possible plans for the airport site. Today’s release of the Zahran study adds a special sense of urgency to that effort, but also raises the spectre of possible lead contamination in soils and structures at and around the site.

The issue of lead contamination around the airport is not new.

East San Jose City Council members Magdalena Carrasco, Maya Esparza and Sylvia Arenas last year warned that the airport has had numerous negative impacts on surrounding communities.

They pointed to recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that identified Reid-Hillview as the 25th-highest lead-emitting airport in the country with lead emissions from piston aircraft exceeding safety thresholds set by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

“The families in this community have, for generations, been put at risk and suffered from the pollution generated by Reid-Hillview," Arenas said last fall. “Lead is one of the most potent neurotoxins that affect children and today we can say without any question Hillview is putting dangerous levels of lead into the air and children."

San Jose Inside reported last fall that the ZIP code of the airport and surrounding neighborhoods is one of the top 200 ZIP codes in the state for lead poisoning among children, according to the California Department of Public Health.

“All these factors have impacted hypertension, obesity, diabetes and it has gotten worse over time,” Gardner Health Services CEO Reymundo Espinoza said last year. “We have seen higher disparities in the East Side and it’s very important to begin addressing the social determinants of health like housing ... and that begins with repurposing the airport.”

Alum Rock Union School District board member Andres Quintero said repurposing the airport, which grew in 1965 over the objections of community and school officials, would “right a historical wrong.”

The Alum Rock district last year strongly supported closing the airport not only because of the lead-related health impacts, but also because of the noise pollution and community fears of plane accidents.

During the SCU Lightning Complex fires that burned in the county’s western foothills nearly a year ago, Cal Fire used the East San Jose airport as a central hub where agencies made attack plans and helicopters refueled. But at today’s press conference, Captain Adam Cosner of the Santa Clara County Fire Department, said helicopters don’t require a very big takeoff site.

Wasserman, who represents the South County’s airport at San Martin, is the lone dissenting voice on the closure plan. He is concerned that closing Reid-Hillview would clog San Jose Mineta International Airport and cause too much air traffic over still-rural San Martin.

Currently, the Reid-Hillview Airport services private aircraft and San Jose State University aviation students. It is also used by two emergency response teams: Disaster Airlift Response Team (DART) and the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), who are not first responders and provide support as part of a larger regional network.

Santa Clara County firefighters, San Jose police and other first responders don’t rely on the airport for emergency services and Cal Fire uses it around one to two times a year for wildfire response, county officials said.


Three decades of journalism experience, as a writer and editor with Gannett, Knight-Ridder and Lee newspapers, as a business journal editor and publisher and as a weekly newspaper editor in Scotts Valley and Gilroy; with the Weeklys group since 2017. Recipient of several first-place writing and editing awards, California News Publishers Association.


  1. listen, kids dont more obstacles, and lead is a biggie

    but its not just the planes over there that are a problem

    that water is not good and unless there are solid culligan filtration systems in those old apartments and houses, these kids are getting double dosed

    it is quite obvious the sharks are circling this juicy steak of a property, and no doubt its history, but all you hobbyist flyers out there should have seem this coming a mile away and switched to unleaded decades ago

    alas you are the patsy, setup to take the hit as the privileged racists who laugh at the brain damage you perpetrate on brown bodies, regardless of how much you were at fault

    the future richie riches who will live and shop there thank you for your scarifice

  2. Oh my God! I can’t believe they were going to use this toxic waste dump for housing! They need to close the airport and make this an exclusion zone like they have in Chernobyl.

  3. What a bunch of scare-porn by this author.. just random non-specific rantings about levels and links but no actual results and/or comparison to other areas, industries or sources. Pretty sad. Even the excerpt below goes off about collected “blood samples” throws in something about schools and childcare centers but no mention of how far (ie. mile radius) from the airport they are located and concludes with ZERO information – – just that the results were released at a press conference. Pretty meaningless info.

    “Zahran’s study examined 17,000 blood samples that were collected from 2011-2020 from children under 18 years of age living near the airport. There are 21 schools and childcare centers surrounding Reid-Hillview Airport.
    The results of the study were revealed at a press conference at the East San Jose airport by County Commissioner Cindy Chavez and Mary Ann Dewan, Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools​.”

    Yes piston engine aircraft (leaded fuel) is a known emitter of lead, but lead was used for decades in industry and automobile fuel resulting in soil contamination. Even today after lead was removed from road vehicle fuels ..”there is a zone of about 15 m wide on either side of most roads in which the concentration of Pb exceeds local background levels and that contamination of the roadside environment is a WORLDWIDE consequence of the use of leaded gasoline.”

    “Lead can be retained in soils for many decades without significant migration (Haneberg et al. 1993) and bulk soil lead concentrations near high traffic density highways, lead processing facilities, and older painted homes may exceed 1000 mg/kg.”

  4. Starting with the headline, we can tell it’s another party joining the developers and politicians who want the airport replaced with housing, which really what is happening here. The airport has existed before anyone crowding into homes by it, and the lead and noise also have existed for ages, and this is only being pushed at this time because the developers, politicians, and others want housing (never offices, it seems, never jobs) at the airport site instead of an airport. Lead could be taken out of fuels used by aircraft overnight and today’s driving need of some to replace the airport with housing ASAP would persist.

  5. Those pasty, monied Entitled Orvilles cannot create substitute fuels magically for free. It has taken decades of work. There’s lower-octane unleaded from one vendor and another vendor just got an approval on some engines and will test more with its new 100-octane unleaded product, but it has taken work and the second “drop-in” fuel will cost more. I suppose some could do their other pastime, golfing.

  6. Just trying to force them out with BS so they can get rich developing the property.
    Same book, different cover.

  7. Gil Hernandez aka The Village Blacksmith was regularly ranting about this 15 years ago on SJI. Evidently the inmates are now running the asylum.
    This lead thing IS absolutely an excuse to continue the campaign to eliminate all open areas in San Jose whose economic potential isn’t fully exploited. It’s all about money.

  8. Politicians Acting Like Stalin (Communist Dictators) Again.. after 4 years of “Show Me the Man and I’ll Find You The Crime” .. this seems like a corollary:
    ‘Show me an industry and I’ll produce the study to destroy or steal it.’

  9. Mineta San Jose International Airport must be shut down too then. It handles more traffic and larger aircraft. It flies directly over homeless encampments endangering the lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged including latinx people… (Did I miss any political talking head talking points?)

  10. I wonder if any city people have the idea of relocating those SJC airport homeless to Reid-Hillview as a “temporary emergency measure,” as stated somewhere else, with RV’s put on the runways, of course. Oops, sorry, no more flights, indefinitely.

    What if the county put a big homeless center there or a “processing” center there?

  11. NELLIE, don’t you there are plans for this place? Most people think housing will be built there, could be public housing. As stated in this nice publication linked to elsewhere, there are all kinds of ideas for “re-purposing” and “re-imagining” it, as it could include, say, a community center. (A new police station or a jail?)

    It says “Vision Plan.”


  12. Leave the airport alone.

    People who do not like the airport should move.

    The airport was here long before the housing projects and provides valuable economic benefits to San Jose.

    San Jose should enact a sewer hook-up moratorium. No more housing projects.

    David S. Wall

  13. This was not a scientific study. It was a statistical analysis by an economics professor who was paid by the county to show a statistical correlation between the airborne lead and the airport. The County wanted a certain finding and they got it. It is interesting that Cindy Chavez didn’t allow her own county airports commission the opportunity to examine the report before doing her grandstand press conference. The data in this report is biased, old and compares water issues in Flynt Michigan against airborne lead in San Jose, apples and oranges. The report also fails to mention that there was a race car track next to the airport from 1957 to 1977. A great source of legacy lead AND the current site of a school! This report serves the political purpose of Chavez and the developers!

  14. HIM: Unleaded aviation gasoline with octane 100 is only now appearing. Not everyone can, and others who can won’t, use lower-octane unleaded aviation gasoline, and even that is limited. Airports in the area have only recently gotten it with an increased supply coming only just now (Santa Clara County, included).

    Everyone can enjoy the following. It includes maps of airports and their lead “footprints,” in a report on leaded vs. unleaded aviation gasoline that’s literally in context, given what else is discussed in it. (That includes other Bay Area airports like Palo Alto that have worse lead problems.)


  15. notsuckered

    As per usual, I write poorly and am misunderstood. This is kabuki theatre and they needed to find a villian. Po people, lead, brain damage, high drop out rates, richie rich Howard Hughes wannabes, big stakes (Chinatown level) poker…

    guess who’s the lucky winner?

    look around the table, if you dont know who the mark is, its you

    all of the comments here are lucid and rational, except perhaps the ‘we were here first’ – that one is lame, and since this is public property, owners gonna own, and no way is Ms Chavez gonna let this $100,000 bill sit on the side walk. She gonna use it to buy shares and drip the divies, all the way to the mayor’s mansion…

  16. John Galt, I read through the 2008 SJI article against closing RHV – you are right commenter “Gil H” was flooding the section with all sorts of lead links and fear mongering. I am not saying that exposure to lead is good and all efforts to reduce lead exposure should be encouraged, but using the basis that any lead levels/ exposure above 0 is ensured future devastation is not realistic due to the history of natural and manmade lead (and other contaminants) in the environment.

    I still recall using a hose to siphon gas out of cars back in 70s and getting a mouthful.

    There is also a research paper by Sammy Zahran on Michigan airports that will most likely be the same conclusion when he discusses RHV – supporting the screams for closure.

    Link to the old article pointing out the Money & Land Grab aspects of closing RHV back in 2008.
    Closing Reed-Hillview Airport Will Not Solve County Deficit

  17. HIM-NOT: You did not write poorly, and I and others did not misunderstand. Rather, there are other related points to be made or address.

    To be more clear and more forthright: Just as the housing activists are in practice Useful Idiots for the developers and congenial politicians, so are the residents and housing activists, and other airport (or aviation) critics, NIMBYs included.

    If 100 octane fuel for everyone appeared instantly, if electric aircraft appeared instantly, it would be irrelevant. The developers and politicians want the airport property redeveloped and would find other excuses to speed up its closure.

    (I’m surprised there’s not an arson by the fuel storage, then declaring the airport a public safety hazard and banning fuels there.)

  18. If Paul Berevouescu is unemployable, it’s because of his bad attitude. It’s not due to the refusal of anyone to hire him. If he wants to work he will find employment. And lead poisoning affects mental acuity, it doesn’t cripple anyone no matter how high their pB level is.

    Next, re: leaded fuel. That’s just more BS and misdirection. Did they consider the lead emitted from nearby freeways? Or lead from hundreds of jumbo jets taking off and landing every day?

    If leaded fuel is really a concern, TPTB could simply issue a decree: No more leaded aircraft fuel in airports. Problem solved. But of course, the lead issue is just a smokescreen.

    Local gov’t electeds and their bureaucrat enablers just want to get their greedy mitts on that choice parcel of land. There might be better uses for Hillview, but local governments have never cared about highest and best zoning. If they did, there would be lots of high rises like San Francisco has. That’s an efficient use of scarce land; single family houses are very inefficient.

    Back in the day, the land by the Mineta airport had many hundreds of houses and duplexes on it. Now it’s a wasteland. Why? Because local gov’t said the airport noise would hurt the ears of the folks living there.

    But they didn’t simply decree sound insulation. Instead they went whole hog as usual, and completely razed the entire area.

    All those houses and multi-unit properties would have paid about a billion dollars per year in real estate tax revenue. But they don’t pay diddly squat now. and it’s been like that for at least the past forty+ years.

    If anyone living there complained about the noise it was a very tiny minority. IIRC, the Merc never quoted more than a few people who said anything about airport noise. The real loudmouths were do-gooders who typically didn’t live there themselves. The ones who did benefited from the low rents and/or low house prices, and the central location.

    Today that land looks like an abandoned Nebraska homestead. The only color comes from the tents the homeless live in. Meanwhile, the local Board of Supes and the City Council ignores the lost revenue. A $billion a year, or more, ignored because the local electeds ‘vision’ consists entirely of developers slideshows, or similar slick eye candy proposals.

    Every voice opposing the Hillview airport has the same malady: they’ve been manipulated by others; usually by the Media Borg manning the Indoctrination Central switchboard.

    Big Media has discovered how effective their Big Lie is, and they’re having an epiphany. Who would have believed that by using the Nazis/Soviets Big Lie tactic, that they could convert half the country into total haters?

    A perfect example: Donald Trump, who routinely appeared in the Gallup Poll’s annual list of the ‘Top Ten’ most well respected American men — until 2016. When he demolished “The First Woman President” the media’s pollsters were thoroughly humiliated and thus were easy pickings for the sore loser. She rounded them up and issued marching orders: “Demonize The Donald!”

    Still smarting from their humiliation, their answer was hearty and unanimous: “Yes, ma’am, yes, ma’am, three bags full ma’am!”

    In relatively short order the new President’s reputation as a likable and newsworthy public figure was completely trashed. He quickly morphed into the Evil Orange guy; an incompetent liar who only got rich because of his daddy, and he swindled every buisness partner he ever had. It didn’t matter that none of tose things were true, since any contrary voices were never allowed anywhere they could argue the pro-Trump side. It was all anti-Trump all the time, for 4+ years.

    But imagine how he would have looked if the media had treated him like they treated the previous winning candidates: Then he would be portrayed as the “can do” kid who never quit, a kid who finally toppled an insider who had all the advantages: a husband who had been President, more money than Croseus, and a phalanx of dot.EDU teachers and staff that fanned out into every kid’s neighborhood precinct, buttonholing parents and telling them who to vote for. Trump is a $billionaire, but all that money wouldn’t be nearly enough to overcome the advantage of his opponent’s YUGE volunteer election army.

    Big Media was in the tank for her; is there any doubt? That was another freebie: she could keep all that Clinton Foundation loot since she didn’t have to buy expensive newspaper space or TV airtime.

    So HOW did she lose?! One reason was, she believed her sycophants; the craven flatterers who sucked up to her incessantly, telling her what she wanted to hear. The fact that Trump had destroyed his Primary opponents one after another must have been in the backs of everyone’s mind then. But people want to believe. They crave belief.

    All that’s necessary to rekindle their belief is a little bit of reinforcement: someone tells another person that she’s gonna win, no question, and it will be easy peasy. The doubts evaporate, and everyone gets back to business: jockeying for a good paying position with authority, in the new Clinton 2.0 Administration. It was pure pleasure to consider their prospects. Everyone did it.

    Then Trump spoiled their party. But it wasn’t really The Donald who did it, although he was like Horatio Alger, or maybe like David facing Goliath, fighting an uphill battle against terrible odds. Or Caesar versus Pompey, whose army was was more than twice as big as Caesar’s.

    But in the end it was the voters who did it. They were thoroughly disgusted by the rampant corruption and self-serving they saw among federal bureaucrats and electeds. Trump was the right man at the right time. He won because he was underestimated, and voters saw the election as their last chance to change what was disgusting them.

    After her defeat the only thing Ms. Clinton had left was her media pals. The U.S. media owns every television network in the nation and almost every big city newspaper, and every news magazine, and almost every other other communication outlet in the nation. With that much reach, their Big Lie tactic could be utilized by the media’s advertising whiz kids. The admen always reveled in a reputation that claimed they could “sell ice cubes to Eskimos.”

    They probably could, too. They were human nature experts, par excellence. And compared to selling ice cubes to Eskimos, trashing Trump was a walk in the park, since the media was easily able to squelch all opposing views, except for am radio and parts of the internet. But the overwhelming influence was held by the pro-Clinton media outlets.

    Thus, the only media that remained bad-mouthed The Donald 24/7/365, for over 4 years. And now even Yahoo! has stopped allowing comments under its news stories. Yahoo! is in the tank for Hillary, so Yahoo!’s CEO issued his injunction: “No more contrary comments!” That meant no more comments, since the majority of commenters favored the ex-President over the current drooler. Can’t have that, so no more reader comments!

    When a population hears only one side of an issue, and never hears anything else, that population will always go in the direction of least resistance. That’s what we see happening with Trump hatred.

    It’s amusing to hear Trump haters trying to explain why they hate him so passionately. Every hater can give a reason for their hatred — but their reasons vary according to each individual.

    Trump haters would have been Trump sycophants if the media had treated him like they treated previous election victors: like the come-from-behind-kid, who triumphed against all odds, and finally won his crown in the end because of his unwavering perseverance…

    The press idolized Abe Lincoln and the other election victors — and the people dutifully followed, marching in lockstep agreement. But now the media demonizes the winner by indoctrinating the population via fake stories, via innuendo, fake “news,” and every other method at its disposal.

    It’s amusing to listen to a random Trump hater attempting to elucidate why they’re so filled with hatred toward someone they don’t know and never met; a man who’s never done anything personally to them that’s harmed them in any way.

    Hatred is an emotion. It is the most powerful emotion by far; love doesn’t come close. The U.S. media has learned to generate, harness, and focus hatred, indoctrinating the public by constantly raining down anti-Trump commentary on people. Thy never hear anything positive while they’re being deluged around the clock with Trump hatred and negativity.

    Some people are more susceptible to media manipulation than others, but we see the emo-haters because they like to publicly express their hatred emotionally and viscerally.

    The media created, and now controls the Trump haters. Is there any doubt? But those haters aren’t even slightly aware of their puppet strings being controlled by a handful of corporate media CEO’s. But as the saying goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and all anyone needs to do is listen to Trump haters spewing their hatred at someone who has never done them any harm, even in a minor way. They hate someone they don’t know and have never met. They hate someone they have no reason to hate, other than being indoctrinated by others. Trump haters are being used for the puppet masters’ agenda, not for them. That is so obvious it it astonishing that they can’t see what’s happening, or why because their hatred is unthinking and irrational.

    Haters can’t even understand that their hatred was instilled in them; created by outside actors who have learned how to manipulate groups of people, using one-sided propaganda and redirected animosity.

    They use that knowledge for their own benefit, while the army of haters that they created is being wound up tight, energized, and pointed in a direction, determined by the same puppet masters who control the Trump haters’ puppet strings.

    It’s been said that people go mad in groups, while individuals regain their sanity only one by one. During the first world war French peasants actually believed that German soldiers barbecued and ate French children — and German peasants believed the same thing about French soldiers. Both sides absolutely knew it was true. But in reality, no German or French soldier would have ever considered doing anything so horrendous.

    The inescapable lesson: propaganda works, and it works extremely well. Propaganda works best, and almost always flawlessly, if the targeted group never hears any other side to the propaganda.

    That’s a good reason that censorship remains a major tool of propagandists, since groups of people invariably come to a good and reasonable conclusion if they’re given access to all the facts.When they’re denied one side of the story, their conclusion is always so problematic that doing nothing is preferable to taking action that’s based on one-sided information.

    THe U.S, media is now controlled by just six corporations: GE, Disney, News Corp, Viacom, Warner Brothers, and CBS. Those six corporations control every American television network. They also control more than fifteen hundred newspapers, including all the major ones, plus the national newspapers like USA Today, and the Washington Post. They also control over eleven hundred magazines, including every national news magazine, and they control the top 2,400 of the country’s Publishers.

    The reach and influence of those six corporations is immense. They’ve made the decision to use censorship to acheive their goals. Tha’s why so many otherwise sensible people have become total haters: they’ve been programmed to hate one particular individual. Not because they have a good reason to hate him, but because other people hate him. They’re doing dirty work for others. They won’t admit it, but it’s true. Any observer can see it.

    Those folks weren’t hating on someone until the U.S. media began indoctrinating them. Now that they’ve become such visceral haters, they believe they came to their decision based on “critical thinking.” But they hate someone they don’t know, and never met. Just try to convince a Trump hater they were indoctrinated, and that they’re being manipulated by the media, which uses censorship and propaganda to indoctrinate them. Good luck with that, Mr. Sisyphus. Here, I’ll hold your beer…

    The media couldn’t create hatred in so many people without employing censorship. But by broadcasting only ‘facts’ that support their agenda, the media has managed to subvert the Constitution in its goal to change our country into something that the vast majority of citizens do not want.

    This isn’t the end game, but it’s getting close. There will come a time — soon, I think — when I’ll ask someone to hold my beer, too. I just hope I won’t be the only one on the right side…

  19. Smokey – let me go brew a coffee before I read your comment. I know I gonna love it already the coffee will be the icing on the cake.

  20. It’s stuff like this that has made me stop voting Democrat down the board. Stuffing their own pockets under the guise of helping people. Brainwashing people into thinking this is for the benefit of the community creating rabid hordes of zombies no longer capable of critical thinking. It’s very easy to pick this kind of manipulation apart.

    “Here is our “SMART” expert. If you don’t agree with them, you’re stupid and we get to harass you”

    So people go along with this kind of idiocy because they don’t want to be considered dumb, even if it’s to their own detriment. If they dare speak out, they get ostracized by people they want as peers. It works on all levels, and on any subject, and I’m tired of it.

    I’m grateful I got to see this city in its final death throws of fainting glory before it was all gone. What’s risen in its place is nothing short of cruel and inhumane built on lie after lie after lie. San Jose, we barely knew you.

  21. Not Suckered – Okay you hit on a nice vein here…

    “If 100 octane fuel for everyone appeared instantly”

    The question here is why has it not already? Could have engine capacity been expanded to successful navigate the air at 98 octane? Is the market too small at 100 octane?

    I don’t know, I don’t follow such things.

    However the question is how does society protect against bad actors profiting from externalities such as leaded fuel? Do we wait for regulation? Well then how is this any different than other nanny-state regulations and government over-reach?

    I can’t say I know for sure down to the biochemistry of the blood brain barrier that lead is bad for kid’s mental acuity, but I do have “faith” in the idea that it is bad – as the world has been telling me it is for my 50 years. People who fly these airplanes exist in that same collective faith system we all have existed in the past 50 years. If the participants in this industry won’t remove the lead by any means necessary – be it reengineer the motors or pay more for the fuel – then they can’t complain when the Ms. Chavez’s come in and rake them over the coals with her trademarked condescending smirk. Because this is now more than an airport for bored old rich white males as it looks to the casual voter, it callous indifference to the IQ of entire populations of color, or at least it can be marketed and recycled as such over and over and over.

    This tactic is tried and true and it may be duplicitous but “We were here first” and “I can’t buy high octane unleaded” are lazy, and in many ways counterproductive, excuses. Freedom comes at a price and if you aren’t willing to change your industry to remove even symbolically (or collective faith-based) harmful externalities, someone else far less friendly will. And it will cost more than this airport, which is why it seems to dangerous to all of us “trolls”, this will be used for much more than that – reparations, infringements on property rights, legally codified racial preferences are the obvious next steps.

  22. The reason it’s not indifference to the neighbors is that the hazard has existed for ages. The timing of (propitious) findings of a hazard is just to stir up interest in closing the airport at the time there is interest in acquiring the land and developing it into housing. That real goal always has been the real issue since development desire began rising recently.

    There’s work being done on 100 octane unleaded fuel but only one has gotten partial approval at the end of last month (note). There is a source of 94 octane unleaded fuel but it’s not suitable for all aircraft and not everyone who can use it will risk a lower octane fuel in their aircraft engine. (It’s a separate issue that there are others that will use motor vehicle gasoline in their aircraft engines.)

    In a different report, not the county’s, but a different report that I linked to, there was discussion of the lead hazard (with the report’s own maps) and what has been done elsewhere, in Oregon. That state now is preoccupied with greenhouse gas emissions and banning sales of conventional (i.e., “petroleum”) Diesel fuel. but in the past has had bills to ban leaded aviation gasoline. An unleaded aviation fuel ban could be pushed more there or elsewhere perhaps once the new G100UL fuel is approved for all piston aircraft (possibly under political pressure). I suspect any state wanting to ban leaded fuel won’t wait for a drop-in replacement to become widely available or reasonably priced.

    The other report, again: (2017)

    “Although states do not have the authority to adopt or enforce emissions standards that differ from the EPA’s standards, Oregon has completely sidestepped the issue of regulating emissions by proposing bills that will ban selling, dispensing, or using leaded aviation fuel altogether.”


  23. Liberals in the media made him into a celebrity. Had he not run against Clinton he would not have been a target in 2016. As for after the election, it was another case of liberals resenting “their” Presidency not won by a Democrat as expected, and a Revolt Against Facts or History as on college campuses and other liberal haunts. Liberalism has gotten, yes, progressively worse and reactions to Reagan in 1980, Bush in 2000, and Trump in 2016 progressively worse. What will it be like — beyond campus fascism and “cancel culture” by then as well as non-stop resentment and “resistance” — the next time anyone with an R stamped on him or her, even a liberal, is elected instead of a Dem. (Abolish the Senate or Supreme Court instead of packing it by then?)


    Thank you for the clarification, and perhaps you are correct that it is not indifference. However it is easily cast as such as it interleaves more with the rest of the articles that litter the media.


    Ah Trump… I did not vote for him in 2016. However, after four years of Russia, Mueller, Impeachment, Kavanaugh, etc I would have walked on broken molten glass to vote for him in 2020. I grew up in upstate NY and WPIX was available on the tube, so Mr Trump has been invading my space for 4 decades. A NYC Democrat with Keynesian instincts and an insatiable need to be liked by people who hate him. I was grateful he dispatched both the Bush and Clinton dynasty, however I am very disturbed about the power of the big lie, as you point out, that was necessary and demonstrated to be so effective during his term. I thought 2001 was the turning point to the negative for American Values, but the Trump Presidency and the Left’s reaction to it has turned the United States into something completely alien to me.

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