The Aspen lifestyle a perplexing dilemma |

The Aspen lifestyle a perplexing dilemma

Dear Editor:

I find it ironic, and disingenuous, to open a local paper and read a strongly opinionated article by a well-known and respected environmentalist opposing the restoration of clean and renewable energy near the historic site of the old Castle Creek powerhouse. For the life of me, I cannot understand the rationale opposing this project.

Having had previous experience with the generation of hydroelectric power on Castle and Maroon creeks, I can state as a fact that never in my past experience operating the power plants on Castle or Maroon creeks did we ever “dry up” the creeks. Nor did we denigrate the stream flows to the detriment of aquatic life. We would see very big trout feeding in the “tail race” discharge at the old Castle Creek plant. Also, the powerhouse reservoir was a great fishing hole. Natural occurring avalanches and winter ice would, on occasion, obstruct the stream flow for a short time, and this entailed use of the Thomas Storage Reservoir to provide a water source.

Our environmentalist mentions Ruedi and Grizzly reservoirs as potential sources for additional hydro power. I must remind her, Ruedi provides clean power for the city of Aspen, but also makes possible diversion of Western Slope water to Front Range cities. Please note: Grizzly Reservoir also enables water diversion to the Front Range. Note The Aspen Times article of Sept. 14 – “Fry-Ark diversion.” Opposition to Aspen’s use of its adjudicated water rights for power generation will provide a key to unlock a headgate valve to further diversions on Castle and Maroon creeks. Readers should not be misled by platitudes of alternate “micro-energy” options. What it’s really all about is “not in my back yard!”

Fifty years ago, the Castle Creek powerhouse provided emergency power to a snowbound Aspen on Labor Day weekend when the outside grid failed because of heavy, wet snow. You can read about it in the local papers of the time. Now a local paper that prints Connie Harvey’s opinion piece also features a two-page spread of ads puffing ostentatious luxury homes for sale. How ironic!

An excessive lifestyle for sale, illuminated and kept warm by fossil fuels, in the same paper that prints a commentary by a respected environmentalist who wants to save the planet. How ironic!

Jim Markalunas


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