Hydro creates city jobs; solar won’t
October 22, 2012
I must admit that I am baffled by the claims made by the proponents of the Aspen hydro project. Further, I am astounded that Auden Schendler and Randy Udall would lend their names for its defense as they did Tuesday, destroying their credibility on the issue in the process.
Let me begin by saying I have the credentials on this issue. I worked on the Ford Foundation’s energy-policy project in 1971, probably before Schendler and Udall were born. We pushed energy conservation for the first time and were roundly criticized for our efforts.
I then headed a special office for Domestic Energy Policy at the U.S. treasury during the Carter administration. The office was formed by Secretary of Treasury Blumenthal to vet, along with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), various energy policy ideas. Our job was to weed out the proposals which would do little good while helping to push the good ideas that should contribute to reducing the nation’s energy use and dependence. It was not a popular job because there were far more bad ideas than good ones.
While many, many years have passed, I am sure the Aspen hydro project would not have passed muster. Quite frankly it is a pink (for pork) project, not a green project. If Aspen wants to spend $10 million or $14 million to reduce its carbon footprint, the city should invest in solar power facilities in Rifle or Nevada, not in the hydro project. The investments in solar will provide far more green electricity.
A solar alternative is not, however, on the ballot because it will not generate jobs (pork) for the Aspen city government. Quite frankly, Aspen public officials have enormous Edifice complexes. I am quite sure they would boost the use of coal if the increase would generate more city jobs. Clearly Schendler and Udall have sold out.
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I am glad we moved from Aspen to Missouri Heights where we are residents of Eagle County.