Writer’s rant has sizzle but not steak | AspenTimes.com

Writer’s rant has sizzle but not steak

Dear Editor:

An April 10 letter to the Aspen Daily News attacks information from a recent Daily News column by Ken Neubecker. Whiting, the alleged author of the letter, should watch out. It seems that some ill-informed supporter of Castle Creek hydropower is writing unsupported claims and sending them into the Daily News over Whiting’s name.

The rant (by whoever wrote it) is what I have talked about in numerous letters and columns when I said those whose arguments lack merit and factual foundation resort to personal attacks and, shall we say, misstatements of fact. Having no substantive, fact-based argument, the rant substitutes “crap,” “crackpot,” “downvalley” and “wealthy” for any credible attack on the substance of criticisms of Castle Creek Energy Center. My favorite was the use of the term “short hairs.” That won me over. Slurs might distract from facts, but they do not change them.

The author seeks to impeach the credibility of project critics by claiming that the city “was forced to build the drain (line),” and that the matter is “not in dispute.” Perhaps not in dispute among those who have bought into the city’s urban legends. Relying solely on such legends rather than documented facts, the author has convinced himself, if no one else, that opponents of Castle Creek hydropower are not credible.

I would be happy to show the author or anyone else the city documents that demonstrate, in chronological order, that: the city hired engineers to design new intakes to Thomas Reservoir for water to be diverted from Maroon Creek and a penstock (not a drain line) from Thomas Reservoir expressly to supply Castle Creek Energy Center. This design work was for the proposed Castle Creek Energy Center and nothing else.

After designing the additional intakes (which could increase stress on the dam) and the penstock (all for Castle Creek Energy Center), the engineers pointed out the potential stress that would result if the new intakes for Castle Creek Energy Center were built. The city-hired engineers recommended that the city voluntarily reclassify the reservoir’s risk classification. The city did that, receiving approval from the state for such voluntary reclassification.

The city never was compelled or ordered by state officials or anyone else to build a new drain line. In fact, the city never did build a new drain line. The penstock, whose primary purpose is to supply Castle Creek Energy Center, is the drain line. There is no separate “new” drain line.

These are documented facts, not bald assertions. Ask the author of the rant to document his legend. He will not be able to do so. Ask me to document the facts, and I gladly will. Is the crackpot the one with the documented facts or the one who throws around legends, slurs and lies?

Maurice Emmer


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