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Lawmaker apologizes for comments about bicyclists polluting the air

By Jonathan Kaminsky

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 02:13 a.m. HST, Mar 05, 2013

OLYMPIA, Wash. >> A Washington state lawmaker apologized today for asserting in an email last week that bicyclists pollute the air with their heavy breathing.

But while Republican Rep. Ed Orcutt of Kalama, the ranking minority member of the House Transportation Committee, said that his statement was "not a point worthy of even mentioning," he didn't retract his claim that cyclists contribute to climate change with their "increased heart rate and respiration."

"What I was trying to say is bicyclists do have a lower footprint but not a zero footprint in relation to automobiles," Orcutt said. "I didn't close that thought out very well. It was poorly worded."

Orcutt's initial statement came in a response to an email sent to more than 30 state lawmakers from Dale Carlson, the owner of three South Sound-area bike stores. Carlson was upset about a proposal to create a $25 fee for all new bicycle purchases of $500 or more as part of a transportation revenue package.

Orcutt, a conservative who opposes most tax increases, told Carlson by email that cyclists should help pay for the upkeep and construction of roads.

In support of his view, he wrote that "the act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider. Since CO2 is deemed to be a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride."

Carlson said he appreciated Orcutt's subsequent apology, but said the lawmaker's views "still seems way out there."

"Cycling has so many positive attributes to society," Carlson said. "It should be encouraged and not discouraged."

Dr. Lonnie Thompson, a climatologist and glaciologist at The Ohio State University, called Orcutt's line of reasoning "crazy."

"We have to breathe whether we're riding a bike or not," said Thompson, who added that burning through a 12-gallon tank of gas releases 314 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air.

A 2011 study by the European Cycling Federation found that bicycle riding is not emission-free, but is more than 10 times less polluting than driving a car. That study took into account the manufacture of the raw materials of a bicycle and the increased food consumption that fuels the physical activity, but did not factor in increased rates of respiration.

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MakaniKai wrote:
My God that would include nearly ALL sports by his logic. Folks this is why we are facing a fiscal nightmare! Where do these people come from? Remember the Georgia Representative who almost three years ago feared that if additional Marines were moved to Guam it might cause the island to capsize! >>>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RmXbaejjvE >>>>OBTW Dennis Rodman for U.S. Secretary of State, can’t be worse than Hillary or John Kerry………Aloha
on March 4,2013 | 12:47PM
olos73 wrote:
His "hot air" makes him sound stupid.
on March 4,2013 | 12:50PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Oh Oh! Everybody needs to stay very still and avoid moving in order to reduce greenhouse gases! Hahahaha! Is there a requirement that people have to be stupid to become a lawmaker?
on March 4,2013 | 12:58PM
Mythman wrote:
I heard that the legislator is flying first class to Hawaii, paid by OHA, to give classes to the state legislature on how to write laws. Does the SA know if this rumor is true or not?
on March 4,2013 | 01:35PM
loquaciousone wrote:
I create more gas emissions while having sex than riding a bike.
on March 4,2013 | 02:07PM
IAmSane wrote:
on March 4,2013 | 03:02PM
wafan wrote:
I thought the majority of Republicans denied climate change. Why is he so worried about anyone's carbon footprint? I met this guy a year ago and thought he was a little different then. He just confirmed what I thought.
on March 4,2013 | 02:29PM
Anonymous wrote:
on March 4,2013 | 03:40PM
wizard417 wrote:
we have no ne else to blame but ourselves, for electing idiots like this to office. is it any wonder why our overnment is the way it is
on March 4,2013 | 05:59PM
dt44 wrote:
Orcutt is about as smart as US Republican Todd Akin who says: "If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin said of a rape victim’s chances of becoming pregnant. Our country is in serious trouble when people elect representatives like these two.
on March 5,2013 | 04:22AM
HOSSANA wrote:
on March 4,2013 | 07:58PM
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