More power to proposed hydro | AspenTimes.com

More power to proposed hydro

Dear Editor:

In the Oct. 24, 2007, edition of The Aspen Times, Su Lum voiced her support for the hydroelectric-facility referendum, ending her endorsement with, “Why not?”

Well, I think at this point, we all now know not only “Why not?” but also why.

I’ve personally flip-flopped on this issue a number of times and finally decided to follow what I believe to be the approach that is best supported by science. The theories are in. Everyone has an opinion. The research has been presented ad infinitum, both pro and con. It’s time to test the theories. Conduct the experiment. Build the hydro plant.

“Whaaat?!” the opponents scream. “All the evidence supports a ‘no’ vote. Five or 6 million dollars is too much to spend on an experiment.”

Au contraire, I counter. If the construction of the hydro plant only serves to maintain the city of Aspen’s water rights, it will be worth the cost. This has become too much of an emotional issue. Too many personal attacks on integrity and character. Too many “what ifs” and “maybes.”

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Hydro opponent Matt Rice stated, “We just don’t know enough about what will happen down the road.” Exactly. That’s why it’s necessary to conduct the experiment: to find out what will happen.

And as with all experiments, you don’t conduct it without having the proper safeguards in place. We don’t want to blow up the lab. Nor do we wish to destroy our streams. The safeguards are in place with oversight from the city, the county, the state and possibly the Army Corps of Engineers. And if the governmental agencies are not enough, I seriously doubt that any of the passionate opponents of this project will disappear during the course of its construction and operation.

If approved, I think it’s safe to say that this will be one of the most scrutinized projects in the history of Aspen. If it is constructed, I would expect a new feature in one or both of the daily papers. A daily streamflow/KW chart so we can all keep an eye on our investment.

The voters approved this controversial issue in 2007. A majority of mayors that the people of Aspen have elected over the years have supported it. The people of Aspen and the valley will not allow any harm to come to the creeks that we all mutually love and respect. The hydro plant will produce power. The question that will be answered with its construction is how much power and at what cost. Once again, the water rights alone are worth the price. An old-timer once told me that more people in the West have died over water than over gold.

Vote “yes” on 2C. Build the Castle Creek hydroplant. We can make it work and keep our streams healthy. Whatever answers are obtained will be more valuable than all the past months of innuendo and speculation.

Will Kane

Aspen

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