On Nov. 15 Jim Markalunas had a letter published in the Aspen Daily News (“Power for the people”) urging the city to proceed with Castle Creek hydro despite the high turnout election result rejecting it. So why bother to have an election?
The reasons stated once again harken back to the good old days. OK, let’s take a look at the good old days. That was when Aspen had few energy options (there was no connection to a grid, no wind and no solar) and had to rely exclusively on locally generated power, burned a lot of oil, kerosene and coal, clear-cut the mountains, polluted the streams and generally just didn’t give a hoot. It is the good old days of, for example, the winter of 1907. According to the local newspaper of the day, there wasn’t enough streamflow to run the hydro plant so the city had constant brownouts. This is the past to which we are urged to return. And why are we urged to do so?
The excuse given is to preserve water rights. OK, what rights are those? Not the rights to use water for consumption in the city. Those rights are not at risk. If any rights are at risk they are only the rights to use Castle and Maroon creeks’ water for hydro power, which has been shown to be potentially destructive of the creeks. So once again we are urged to risk destroying the creeks to preserve the right to destroy the creeks. And they can’t accept that they lost the election on the merits of the issue. Please wake up.
Sober voices have called for a rational review of all renewable energy options. Steve Barwick has suggested this be taken up in January, after a reasonable cooling-off period, with all interested groups involved. That is a reasonable suggestion that should be pursued. Continuing promotion of an ill thought out project after the voters have rejected it is not.