Vote ‘no’ on hydro | AspenTimes.com

Vote ‘no’ on hydro

Dear Editor:

I see that the mayor has repeated in his letter to the Aspen Daily News on Sept. 22 his unsubstantiated claim that the hydro plant would replace 5 million pounds of coal per year. Where is his substantiation for that figure? Probably the same place as the substantiation for his other claims about the project – it doesn’t exist.

Let’s just test one of the mayor’s “facts” in his recent letter. The mayor claims that other forms of renewable energy (wind and solar, for example) cannot provide “base power” because they do not run continuously. While that is not true, because their power can be stored and used when it is needed, even if it were true it is irrelevant. How much “base power” can Castle Creek hydro provide in a dry year like the one we just had? How much can it provide in the winter months when the streams are trickling and Aspen’s power demand is at its annual peak? Virtually none. Aspen still will have to buy power from the hated “outsiders” at those times, and Castle Creek hydro won’t help a bit, even after $10.5 million, $14.5 million, $17.5 million and more down the sinkhole. Figures that I can substantiate. Another example of why one cannot just take the mayor’s or the city’s word on this project. They twist and they turn to justify it, but they cannot defend it on the facts.

What do we get from the mayor when his “facts” are challenged? What do we get when his hypocrisy is challenged? We get only more self-righteous outrage and bluster. We never get substantiation. It should be obvious to all now that this project is indefensible. Its proponents make countless claims about its benefits, and yet when one person asks for substantiation for those claims, the claims burst like the fragile bubbles they are. The only responses from the proponents are (1) personal ridicule of the critics, (2) repetition of the baseless claims of benefits and (3) no substantiation. Doesn’t that tell us something about the defensibility of this project? The public should demand proof, not just bluster, when it is asked to continue to fund an out-of-control money pit that will destroy two of our precious local treasures, Maroon and Castle creeks.

That is why more than 100 local residents, including environmentalists and fiscal hawks, have endorsed our committee, Citizens for Responsible Projects (2cvoteno@gmail.com). That is why American Rivers and the Western Rivers Institute have endorsed us. We seek an end to this insane project on Nov. 6. Defend your pocketbooks and our environment. Vote “no” on 2C.

Maurice Emmer

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