Bad reporting by Times |

Bad reporting by Times

Dear Editor:

I was deeply disappointed in the article on the Aspen Business Luncheon’s Castle Creek hydroelectric forum. Salvail seems to have slept through 95 percent of it. Fireworks? What was he expecting? A fist fight or a Dr. Phil shouting match? His “journalistic” style seems more suited to Fox News or a gossip column. What really occurred was a rational and engaging discussion of the issues, something Salvail seems to have missed almost entirely.

He focused almost exclusively on two small moments that came during the question-and-answer period. Paul Menter was right to deflect what seemed more a personal attack in order to focus on the issues. Maurice Emmer’s comments were a small part of the discussion yet occupy nearly a third of the article. And please tell me what the importance of Emmer’s having “recently moved to Aspen” is in this discussion? That’s irrelevant, unless you are more interested with obfuscating gossip rather than the issues.

Toward the end of the piece Salvail finally addresses some of what the forum was really about, but then only to repeat the falsely reassuring and inaccurate message from the city’s side of the issue. The article never mentioned any of the points I made refuting the city’s position, nor did Salvail attempt to speak with Menter or me afterward.

There was a serious and rich discussion of the real issues for nearly two hours, all largely ignored by Salvail. Did the article report on the city’s mistaken characterization of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s licensing process? No, nor the correction that I offered. Did the article cover the discussion of stream ecosystems and the city’s inadequate studies or monitoring program? No. Even the fact that the city has failed to hold up its part of a 14-year-old agreement to install stream gauges was ignored.

It’s hard to honor minimum streamflows when there is no reliable way of knowing how much water is in the stream at any given moment. Manual sampling by city staff isn’t what the agreement stipulated. Was the fact that the city’s Maroon Creek study ignores the impacts from the permanent removal of significant amounts of water mentioned? No. Were the true implications of climate change, increased municipal and snowmaking water demands and drying streams, mentioned? Again, no.

It is little wonder that the citizens of Aspen are confused and ill-informed about this project when one reads reporting like this.

Kendrick Neubecker


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