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Yes to clean energy

Dear Editor:

Some recent opinions expressed in our local papers give the impression that our mountain streams will be forever denigrated by using the natural energy of the stream in generating clean and renewable non-polluting electric power for the city of Aspen. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Exaggerated examples of Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River in China are pure nonsense! Opponents of Aspen’s efforts to restore clean hydroelectricity paint a picture of large dams impounding and devastating our creeks until the streams are devoid of life. Nothing could be further from the truth! But tell a lie often enough, and most people will believe it to be true. The pour-over dam has existed since 1965 and will continue to exist and not impound water regardless of whether we generate renewable energy.

A half-century ago, Aspen was a self-reliant, ex-mining community entering a new era of recreational and cultural experiences. Today, mining is gone, and our ranching is beginning to wane as visitors from all parts of the world purchase ranches to build second homes surrounding Aspen. As development continues to make its inroads, the old ways will be pushed aside for bigger but not better. Sad but true! Prosperity has its price and leaves an environmental footprint.

As more people move into our rural areas, there will be continued conflicts with the established and traditional practices of sustainable self-reliance and our mining and agricultural heritages. The recent and concerted effort of newly arrived “NIMBYs” in opposition to Aspen’s renewal of its green and sustainable hydroelectric resources on Castle Creek is but one example of many conflicts to come. I certainly hope we can resolve our differences and work toward the betterment of Aspen’s energy future.

Yes! Aspen is a haven of beauty and peace, but it is occupied by some people who care little about the quality of this place since their lifestyle consumes far too much energy. We must all do our part to conserve energy and preserve the environment. I believe the restoration of Aspen’s hydroelectric resources is a step in the right direction.

Is hydroelectricity a clean and renewal source of energy for Aspen? Yes!

Jim Markalunas

Aspen


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