In response to Maurice Emmer’s letter (“The good old days ended,” Aspen Daily News, Nov. 16), I would offer the following comments: Aspen has a history of clean hydroelectric power. I am proud to have been a part of that history. You mention the low streamflows in December of 1907, over a century ago. Drought and floods are a part of Colorado’s history. Whether it is the drought years of the 30s or the floods of the 20s, they are a part of our Colorado weather history. The big snow years of 1899, 1918, 1923, 1957 and 1983 are but a few of the high-water years juxtaposed by low-flow years. Such was the case in 1954, when the Roaring Fork was near dry because of local irrigation practices and upstream trans-mountain diversions.
I agree there were many environmental abuses in the past. However, I resent your characterization of our early Aspen residents as being deliberate despoilers of the environment with no regard to the degradation of our mountain streams. What you know of old Aspen you have only read in the newspaper accounts. All this you, or your cohorts, have characterized by exaggerations or bending the facts, as your recent campaign of misinformation has aptly illustrated.
Your spin on the news article “Water low in the mountains” from Dec. 7,1907, is exaggerated, since the article also referred to the Hunter Creek power house, which had a different “water yield” history than Castle or Maroon creeks. If you are going to use news articles from the past as your basis for opposing the city’s efforts to restore clean and renewable hydroelectric energy for Aspen, then I suggest you stick to all the facts. For every low-flow year, there were also high-flow years. In every decade, there are big snow years and low snow years. I suggest you pick up a copy of “An Aspen Weather Guide” and read my spin on “Weather to be in Aspen.”
Colorado creeks can get quite low and they can also get very high. That’s the nature of Colorado streams. How we manage their flows is up to us. I suggest you work with the city to preserve our adjudicated water rights rather than oppose its efforts to restore clean power generation for its residents. The city has demonstrated its intent to maintain the health of Castle Creek. I trust the city in this regard. To quote Ronald Reagan, “Trust but verify.” Planet earth needs your help. Global warming is for real. Put your effort into reducing excessive energy consumption in Aspen by the mega-homes with heated driveways, built around Aspen, and along Castle and Maroon creeks, above and below the powerhouse. That’s how you can “Save our Streams.”