Hydro supports Aspen’s ethics | AspenTimes.com

Hydro supports Aspen’s ethics

Dear Editor:

I work as the director of the city of Aspen’s Canary Initiative; however, I’m writing this letter as a resident of the Roaring Fork Valley who supports clean, local responsible energy.I’m also a new mom, which has given me a whole new perspective on the future, the threat of climate change and our addiction to fossil fuels.

Sure, I still care about protecting a climate that produces epic powder days and a strong tourism economy, but I’m also more committed than ever to helping create a sustainable way of life for future generations. I believe the Castle Creek hydropower project is an important local step in that direction.

Aspen is known as a global leader in renewable energy and environmental programs. Communities around the world look to Aspen for its innovative, thoughtful and ambitious environmental initiatives. Sure, Aspen is home to more than its share of private jets and snowmelt driveways, but it is also home to a lot of people who share a strong environmental ethic. As a demonstration of that ethic, the municipal utility is working toward a goal of providing 100 percent of its electricity from carbon-free sources. The Castle Creek project would increase that mix from 75 percent to 83 percent, which is significant.

If we are to successfully address climate change, it is crucial that all individuals, families, businesses and communities do their part. This hydro project is one important way for Aspen to do its part by producing clean energy locally rather than clinging to coal, the combustion of which creates negative impacts in everyone’s backyard.

Of course, in order to be truly renewable, energy projects can’t threaten the resources on which they depend. The Castle Creek project will go above and beyond what’s required for environmental monitoring and will follow a slow-start approach to ensure that stream health is protected.

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As a Carbondale resident, I can’t vote on this issue in November, but many of you can, and I hope you do. We’re already seeing the effects of climate change here and around the globe. We must seize every opportunity to walk our talk and help reduce the global carbon footprint. Future generations are counting on us.

Lauren McDonell

Carbondale

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