Bonfire of the Bureaucrats

Getting burned by green intentions gone bad.

By Christopher Werner December 27, 2008 Published in the August 2008 issue of Seattle Met

We’re as pro-planet as they come at Seattle Met, where the company car is a hybrid, we separate our trash, and every third story’s got a greeny theme. But threaten to take away our beach bonfires, and you’ve gone too damn far. Which is exactly what the Department of Parks and Recreation did when it held a meeting in early June to discuss eliminating or reducing bonfires at Alki Beach and Golden Gardens “to mitigate or stop the impact of this current practice on global warming,” according to a parks briefing.
News of the meeting spread like, well, an out of control bonfire, and ignited (sorry) a firestorm (there we go again) of coverage, with headlines on AOL News, eBay, and All cried Left Coast environmentalism run amok, and all asked the same question: Do beach bonfires contribute to global warming?

Bonfires are far down the list of global warming contributors and hardly reason for concern.

No, not really, says Mike Schultz, a spokesperson for the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, who notes that bonfires are so far down the list of global warming contributors that they’re hardly a reason for concern. Even the parks department studied the effects of bonfires on global warming in 2004 only to find a minimal impact, according to parks spokesperson Malia Langworthy. So, look, Seattle officials, let’s curb those fossil fuels, unquestionable global warming culprits. And when it comes to beach driftwood: Burn, baby, burn.

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