Letter: Red dust isn’t new
November 18, 2014
Mike Kaplan's reference to the red dust that causes early snowmelt as stated in the Nov. 14 Aspen Times ("Aspen Skiing Co. stays full speed ahead on climate change issues") is erroneous. Many years before Kaplan arrived in Aspen and the Crown family purchased Aspen Sking Co., the red dust came at various times of the year, depending on which direction the wind was blowing. I remember 1965 as being a very red year, late into spring. I don't know if Kaplan had ever heard of Aspen at that time. For him to blame the gas wells and associated ground disturbance for this dust is ludicrous. The gas developers spend a lot of money remediating the effects of dust pollution. Their well platforms are watered several times per day, and their roads are prepared with road base and screened rock.
Kudos to Skico for all of its efforts to remediate its own dust problems, but I feel that more effort on the company's part on the Little Annie access to Aspen Mountain would benefit the dust problem on Aspen Mountain. Likewise on Snowmass Mountain, where I fail to see any dust mitigation.
And of course, as I have spent countless hours hauling gravel and rock to the gas wells in western Colorado and eastern Utah, I fail to see any red rock that would cause Skico's loathed red dust near the wells. Perhaps it is hard to distinguish color from the altitude of an airplane. It seems to me that a lot of Utah's treeless landscape is red sandstone, which is prone to dust.
James A. Wingers
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