Schendler, city of Aspen bully hydro opponents |

Schendler, city of Aspen bully hydro opponents

Dear Editor:

Auden Schendler brags about his role as attack dog at the recent Aspen Chamber Resort Association election forum. Schendler’s view of the forum was:

1. Matt Rice, Colorado River Basin director of American Rivers and expert on hydroelectric energy projects, is an idiot.

2. I am an idiot.

3. Neither Rice nor I am entitled to an opinion because (a) Rice doesn’t live in Aspen (Schendler doesn’t either, by the way), and (b) I haven’t lived in Aspen long enough to suit Schendler (the minimum residence time required was not specified by Schendler).

4. The city of Aspen is the most trustworthy entity in the universe and is never wrong.

5. No other type of renewable-energy possibly could be harnessed to complete the Canary Initiative, no way, nohow, just because Auden says so, and Auden doesn’t have to explain or document that assertion because Rice and I are too stupid to understand, and Auden can demonstrate our ignorance by grimacing and gesticulating like a mime on crack while others are explaining their views, and he can accuse others of being lackeys of Satan. And idiots.

Folks, we are seeing the essence of the case for Castle Creek hydro. We are seeing what the proponents view as their strongest arguments. Fearmongering, personal attacks on opponents, arrogance, disrespect, impudence. No facts.

Here’s why I oppose the projects. I have not received satisfactory answers to the following questions and others:

Where are the city of Aspen’s serious studies of other potential renewable-

energy alternatives so that the people of Aspen (not Basalt) can evaluate whether it is really imperative to shackle Castle and Maroon creeks with destructive hydro?

Why must we take the risk of screwing up two delicate riparian ecosystems to reduce citywide carbon emissions by only about one-half of 1 percent?

Rice cites sound science indicating that diversions of more than 20 percent render serious damage to streams such as Castle and Maroon. Since the existing diversions are around 20 percent, how is it possible to reconcile the science with the project?

Can the city of Aspen absolutely guarantee there will be no damage to riparian ecosystems? If so, where is the financial guarantee from the city that, if it is wrong, the millions of dollars necessary to try to reverse the damage will be available? Is the city prepared to purchase a surety, which would settle the “battle of the experts” problem by eliminating the need for voters to try to decide who is right?

The price a surety company would charge for such a surety bond would measure the actual level of risk to the streams because it would reflect an independent party’s evaluation in dollar terms. Such a bond should not be expensive if the city is right that there is absolutely no risk. If the city is wrong, it’s possible that no surety bond company would touch it, which itself would be telling.

Why is it necessary to know who is right, when there are alternative ways to complete the Canary Initiative that won’t damage riparian ecosystems?

I’m going to vote “no” on 2C because satisfactory answers have not been provided to these and other questions. You will vote your way for your reasons.

Maurice Emmer


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