Petition drive against hydroplant under way
December 20, 2011
This week a diverse group of citizens will begin circulating a petition among Aspen registered voters seeking the reversal of Ordinance 30, 2011 Series. That ordinance, to take effect Jan. 16, rezones land on Power Plant Road so the city can build its new hydroelectric plant.
The ordinance changes the land-use rules relating to the property. The city feels it needs these changes to accommodate the plant. Many citizens as well as nationally respected environmental groups oppose the hydro project. We feel that no rezoning is appropriate at this time. If at least 600 registered voters sign the petition, the city will be required by law to withdraw the ordinance. Then, if City Council wants to enact the ordinance, it will have to put it on a ballot and let us vote after we have had an opportunity to become fully informed.
Ordinance 30 does not need to be enacted now. The hydro plant cannot be built until the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approves the city’s application (if it ever does). Given opposition from environmentalists, and those who oppose this ballooning expenditure of public funds, FERC approval may take years and millions more dollars.
Why the rush on the city’s part to rezone this land? This petition will not bar the city from proceeding with the hydro project. But it will send a message to City Hall: We want renewable energy, but we want approaches that make financial and environmental sense. We want to work with the city to find such approaches. This hydro plant is not one.
While I will be one of the official petitioners, a diverse group of area citizens has organized this effort and will be gathering signatures.
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Voters have 30 days from Dec. 16 to sign the petition. If you are a registered voter in Aspen and oppose the hydro project, find someone who is circulating this petition and sign it ASAP. You may write us at Citizenspetition81611@gmail.com to let us know how to get your signature on the petition.