Don’t give up on hydro
Ryan Summerlin November 16, 2012
Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to the people of Aspen and the City Council on Nov. 12.
Aspen has a long and illustrious history in the generation of clean and renewable hydroelectric power.
As a longtime resident of Aspen, I’ve had the privilege to have been a part of that history. More than a century ago, Aspen was a leader in the application of hydroelectric power generated from our local streams for mining and community use. During the first 10 years of skiing in Aspen, from 1947 to 1958, all the ski lifts were powered by electricity generated from turbines at the historic Castle Creek Power Plant. Due to a lack of financial resources by the city to repair or replace the flumes supplying water to the plant, the decision was made to shut the plant down. A few years later, after the ’61 Labor Day snowstorm, the turbines were removed. This was a terrible mistake that we have all come to regret.
Today, some 60 years later, we have come to realize the importance of the restoration of clean and renewable energy in our own backyard.
Now we are at a point in time as to how we should preserve our historical water rights for power generation or yield to the undisclosed money interests that wish to steal our water rights by defeating any attempts by the people of Aspen to restore clean and renewable energy to Aspen.
The narrow loss by only 1 percent on advisory question 2C should not deter the City Council from its responsibility to protect Aspen adjudicated water rights. Please do not abdicate your responsibility to protect Aspen’s water rights from the unscrupulous interests that want us to abandon these historical water rights under the guise of Save Our Streams.
Should not the city of Aspen also have an emergency source of power in the event of a loss of the grid? Is it not prudent to take precautions to ensure our safety and welfare? I urge you to think about your community first and not be blackmailed by undisclosed interests that wish to steal the community’s water rights.
Power by the people, for the people!