Good cause falls short

Dear Editor:

Below are excerpts of a letter I sent to volunteers of Backyard Energy following the results of Tuesday’s advisory vote on the Castle Creek hydro plant:

I wanted you all to know how much your efforts to get out the word in support of the Castle Creek hydro project are appreciated. We all know that we did everything possible to counter the continued assaults over the airwaves and through the opposition’s flood of direct mailings and letters to the editors.

We also know that just the disproportionate spending advantage the opposition used to spread its message made our efforts difficult from the start, not to mention that four new nonprofit groups were formed to take on this issue. (We might never know the true motives of these groups since they wouldn’t identify where a dime of their money came from.) Our ground campaign proved that we were effective in getting our message across when we asked “face to face” for support. It proved the power of connecting with people directly. Our letter-writing campaign, Web page, Facebook postings and particularly the (Aspen Chamber Resort Association) forum proved to be good tools to wage the fight.

While we came close to overcoming the odds stacked against us, the effort didn’t prove sufficient to pull out in the end. There were about 100 votes separating supporters from opponents out of approximately 4,000 votes cast. You all know my personal views that this project would be a major asset for Aspen’s residents and would be the best way to preserve the two creeks from future diversions given the structure of Colorado water law.

Having been involved in fighting water development and in protecting water quality in Western Slope streams and rivers for more than 40 years, there hasn’t been a group of people I’ve worked with that were more dedicated to these purposes, and yet the moneyed interests managed to paint us as uncaring about the health of these two particular streams.

I just want you all to know that we did our best to pull this out and can be proud of sticking to the message and running a positive campaign. Thanks again for all you did to support this effort – we’ll need to watch where it goes from here.

Phil Overeynder