Compressed air launching of fireworks gets rid of the gunpowder, but not the perchlorate and toxic heavy metals. That means that those 60,000 pounds of fireworks Disney uses are primarily perchlorate, heavy metals, plastic and paper.
All of this perchlorate can be eliminated according a former Los Alamos explosives chemist Mike Hiskey who cofounded a company called DMD Systems that produces perchlorate-free fireworks with about a tenth the amount of barium used in the kind of fireworks AEG will likely use.
Using nitrocellulose as fuel and replacing perchlorate with nitrates as oxidizer, the resultant propulsion and burst produces only stable gases like water, carbon dioxide and nitrogen cutting down greatly on smoke and small particulates. Not only are a wider palette of hues available, there are new formulations of colors resulting in deeper reds and blues impossible to achieve with the fireworks both AEG and Disney use.
In addition, illuminated night kite shows, laser shows and holographic fireworks are all technologies within reach of any large entertainment company like AEG, Disney, Universal Studios and Six Flags that want to truly own the “green fireworks and special effects” mantle.
But don’t look for it in Los Angeles at Farmers Field. This expensive endeavor has been planned down to the tiniest details making the exclusion of the perchlorate data puzzling at best. Cheap Chinese perchlorate filled fireworks are, well – cheaper.
The Los Angeles Times boosterism of the AEG project seems to have blinded it to a more critical examination of the Farmers Field EIR. Hostility directed at community activists making the op-ed pages isn’t a replacement for in-depth investigative journalism.
“AEG’s already agreed to dozens of community benefits, but if it won’t accept more, the project’s critics want the council to send the environmental impact report back for more work,” opined Jim Newton. “And if that doesn’t work, they’re threatening to sue. Of course, one person’s mitigation request is another’s idea of extortion.”
This was preceded the day earlier in the paper by an unsigned editorial entitled “An L.A.-friendly football stadium” which made this prescient observation: “The final negotiations regarding the football stadium revolve around the project’s environmental impact report, a 10,000-page document that the council members have almost certainly not read.”
Had the Times actually read the 11,149-page DEIR and then the 3,610-page FEIR a little closer it might have noticed that demands for better pollution mitigation weren’t extortion. Perchlorate which doesn’t distinguish between people in Pico Union or South Park or the employees, players, performers and fans of Farmers Field.
Taking the residents seriously and obeying environmental laws related to compounds as dangerous as perchlorate could have the added benefit of protecting against potential future lawsuits over the missing fireworks data, data that almost certainly involves large amount of perchlorate use. Those lawsuits could target the city and, if successful, end up costing the taxpayers plenty because their government was too cozy with the developer and the media too enfeebled to expose it.
After the unanimous vote late last night, the Times couldn’t help but lampoon community advocates once again with the provocative headline “Anti-poverty group seeks $60 million from NFL stadium developer” making it look like one of the Play Fair Farmers Field coalition members, the Los Angeles Community Action Network, was being insanely greedy. Actually the request was for $2 million a year for 30 years.
AEG claimed to reporter David Zahniser that they could have “had a deal by now” if it had paid the group off its $10 million demand. That below the belt – and inaccurate – accusation seems to indicate AEG’s inclination to perhaps, well, not play fair.
For now, however, activists are still sounding a conciliatory tone.
“You know if the happiest place on Earth can do it, I think AEG can do it,” Argüello says. “I see no reason why they couldn’t, given their commitment to environmental stewardship, or why they wouldn’t be able to get this new technology into their stadium so they can tout their sustainability practices.”
Don’t hold your breath. Until you have to.