Aspen councilman calls out colleagues over natural gas |

Aspen councilman calls out colleagues over natural gas

If Aspen’s City Council and local voters are concerned about perceived impacts from fossil fuels (carbon dioxide, fracking, contaminated ground water, earthquakes, government land leases and controversial pipelines, etc.), shouldn’t the city eliminate the fossil-fuel pipeline when building a brand new office building from the ground up?

On Monday night, Steve Skadron told the city council it would cost “millions” of dollars more to use Aspen’s existing 100 percent renewable-electric grid for space and water heating in Aspen’s new police office building versus a fossil-fuel pipeline. I can’t imagine this is true.

Aspen’s 100 percent renewable-electric grid will supply all other electrical systems of the proposed new building. The problem isn’t the capacity or technical know how; the problem is council’s political will. I need two others on the city council to join me to mandate use of Aspen’s existing 100 percent renewable-electric grid for space and water heating in our new police office building versus a fossil-fuel pipeline. Additionally, the building could reduce energy use by including geothermal, if there is the political will.

I support piping in fossil fuel for an emergency backup generator, just not for everyday space and water heating. Somewhere on the planet there must be a 24/7/365 police station or hospital larger than ours connected to the electric grid for space and water heating.

Two weeks ago I attended a meeting on the Climate History of Earth at the Limelight. The conference room was packed. Everyone there seemed concerned about Earth’s future. Yet the call to action at the end of the meeting was to contact a state senator (who likely doesn’t place much value on opinions from voters from Aspen) rather than working to replace fossil fuels in Aspen’s brand new police office building. If even half the energy some people spend on complaining to national and state politicians was instead focused on demanding change from our local elected officials, we would have a much better chance of accomplishing real change.

I should have at least one other supporter on the city council, if not the two needed to make that change, but I’m alone. Steve Skadron, Ann Mullins and Art Daily are each up for re-election in May and none of them have been onboard with making our new police office building fossil-fuel free. If you are concerned about impacts from fossil fuels and would like to see your government reflect those concerns, elect local representatives who honor your values. Ballots go in the mail April 10.

Bert Myrin

Aspen City Council

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