One environmental impact too many

There was an interesting news article recently on the proposed Aspen Airport enlargement (“New airport environmental affects to be few as possible, The Aspen Times, Jan. 20). The environmental impact statement is apparently all “good news,” except that a little wetlands area will need to be relocated. No problem, they might find a place on a site, or maybe some other place in the county. And it just needs a “bit more work to be done on areas of air quality and socioeconomic impacts of the project.”

Why do I get the feeling the expansion is a foregone conclusion? My memories have gotten foggy, but didn’t the voters once say no to any expansion?

A couple of other points could be made. Wetlands do not “move.” Every wetland is a distinct unique ecosystem. You can build something like the old one; it won’t be the same. But why worry about a little ecosystem like the airport wetland when we are destroying the ecosystem known as planet Earth? (Planet Earth or Planet Hollywood; what’s the big deal — for you Aspen historians.)

Likewise, why worry about “socioeconomic impacts”? That’s just the “little people.” Or how about “air quality”? What possible effect could thousands of jet engines and the constantly growing fleets of vehicles that service the airport have on air quality? I was standing near the bottom of the Buttermilk ski area when a jet took off. My friend and I thought we were going to be asphyxiated. My clothes smelled of jet fuel afterward. You can look down on Aspen many mornings and enjoy the shimmering, blue haze. But with “a bit more work” by a “national” environmental consultant (who will never live in this valley), we can put any worries about health and environmental affects aside.

If you check the specs on the new largest business jets you will see that their wingspans have grown a few feet. Naturally, it behooves Aspen to have the runaway to accommodate the latest private jets. What the 1 percent wants the 1 percent gets. They don’t really live here, actually. A week or two a year of poisoned air probably won’t be a problem. If the valley gets trashed, find another one.

Patrick Hunter