Hydro will put us up the creek | AspenTimes.com

Hydro will put us up the creek

Dear Editor:

So how much are Castle and Maroon creeks worth?

Seems that the best argument for proceeding with this invasive, expensive, environmentally risky, inadequately researched boondoggle is that we’ve already spent more than $5 million.

The alternative to the city’s current hydro plans for Castle Creek is absolutely not coal-fired power plants. As the projected costs of plans for the large-scale hydro project have more than doubled over the past five years, the costs of solar panels have been cut in half, the cost of natural gas is less than half, as well, wind energy is readily available to purchase, micro-hydro is a distinct opportunity and cheap immediate opportunities for conservation (what Amory Lovins call megawatts) are less sexy but limitless – caulk, new windows, vestibules, efficient light bulbs, smart thermostats, etc.

We have truly green alternatives – not this “trophy green” project touted by politicians but feared by American Rivers, Western River Resources, Trout Unlimited, local environmentalists and biologists, etc.

If only the people in City Hall took climate change and truly alternative energy opportunities seriously enough to admit that times have changed and they’ve made a well-intentioned mistake. Our mayor and city councilmen often review projects that seem feasible when conceptually approved but are no longer acceptable as the details develop.

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Are we, as the stewards of our environment, going to shirk our responsibility to protect our 50 million-year-old rivers for a modest amount of extremely expensive power that can immediately, cost effectively and environmentally responsibly be offset without endangerment to Castle and Maroon creeks?

Dewatering Castle Creek down to “minimum steamflow” for hydro is way too “xstream.”

Michael Lipkin and Jody Guralnick

Aspen