Hydropower still makes good cents | AspenTimes.com

Hydropower still makes good cents

Scott Writer

Dear Editor:

What I hate about politics is the selective omission of facts that are politically inconvenient. Winning often trumps facts, and both sides cherry pick “maybes” and exaggerate their side. Ends justify the means. Like in the hydro debate, “we have to be careful not to damage the river ecosystem” becomes “they will destroy miles of Castle Creek.”

Look, I believe most of the opponents of hydro have sincere, intellectually based issues that I respect, but in my view, the vote (out of 4,000 votes, it lost by 110) was tipped by opposition that was based on political opportunism and exaggeration — they finally found Mick Ireland’s Achilles heel, and they were going to spend and say what they had to to take him out. And Mick being Mick didn’t help with his antagonism of the opponents.

Why I remain in favor of hydro is that the opponents used a 25-year (the loan term) analysis of the economics and said it was more expensive to pay for the project than to buy electricity from other sources during that period. What they didn’t tell the electorate was that Aspen will still need electricity after 25 years (duh), and at that point, we can get the power from hydro for virtually nothing, creating a profit center for the city and a means to reduce taxes.

The water rights (50 cubic feet per second — minimum streamflow is 14) we are abandoning forever. Aspen owns those water rights now, and opponents don’t seem to care that there may be real value (environmentally and economically) for Aspen in those water rights.

All I ask is that the same respect be accorded to those of us who believe the stream can be protected, are for reducing dependence on carbon-based power systems, think a 25-year economic analysis does not reflect the reality of a system that could be with us for centuries, think Aspen’s water rights are valuable, are thrilled that the city of Aspen was finding a way to create revenues without having to raise taxes and had nothing to do with the way Mick (poorly) handled the process.

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