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More on water

As I explained in my first letter, the Wolcott Reservoir amounts to a de facto transmountain diversion in that it will allow Denver to remove more water from the West Slope to supply East Slope cities. The Wolcott Reservoir will also allow Eagle County municipalities and developments to use more Eagle River water. Now I would like look further into these trade-offs.First understand that the existing East Slope city transmountain diversion structures on the headwaters of the Colorado are not being used to full capacity. Denver and the other municipalities can take a lot more water off the top right now. The only thing that holds them back are senior downstream rights. Denver is trying to buy the Shoshone Power plant to get rid of that particular senior right.It’s also important to understand that Eagle County’s municipalities are in a bind for water. Apparently some municipal water rights are junior to both the Colorado East Slope (Denver, Colorado Springs, etc.) and the Lower Basin (California, Arizona, Nevada and Mexico ) water rights. This means these towns and developments could lose their water unless they buy older agricultural rights in Eagle County if any are available, tap into underground water if that is available, buy water out of existing reservoirs if that is available, or build reservoirs to store flood waters to augment senior downstream demands.Other solutions? There is talk about recharging the ground table under Camp Hale. It was largely dried out when the Eagle River was channelized by the Army many years ago when Camp Hale was built. This, in combination with wells, could provide needed water storage and offer a temporary fix to Eagle County. Wolcott, of course, is also a temporary fix. These projects would temporarily satisfy senior down stream rights, like the Shoshone Power Plant in the Glenwood Canyon. Unfortunately the cities of Colorado and Aurora would be entitled to two thirds of the Camp Hale water as well so it becomes another defacto transmountain diversion.I don’t know if the construction of possible West Slope reservoirs that are not shared with East Slope cities has been explored. Lede Reservoir above Gypsum is a good example of this. More dams like Lede would be the best solution but perhaps be prohibitively expensive. And the Forest Service would have to give permission for construction in many cases.The problem that won’t go away is that the East Slope cities and the lower basin states are going to claim the water they have rights to regardless. Years ago, Denver was stopped from building diversions on the Gore Creek tributaries because of enlarged Wilderness Area boundaries. Building diversions in a Wilderness Area requires a Presidential exemption, and so far no President has been willing to do that. The East Slope cities have also been stymied in some cases by county refusals to allow construction of some diversions.Overall, Eagle County is between a rock and a hard place. There are no simple answers. My intuition tells me we should not get involved with shared East Slope West Slope reservoirs simply because water that goes East cannot be used to satisfy the lower basin state’s demands for their share of the water. That will catch up with us eventually.Complicated? You bet. And right now I don’t have the answers. In the next letter I will look at more benefits, real and imagined, of the Wolcott Reservoir.Roger BrownGypsumEditor’s note: The writer is running for Eagle County commissioner.Yay nukes!A friend of mine suggested that I write a letter with nuclear power as the subject. I reminded him that a couple of years ago, I had done just that. Well, he said, “do it again.” And, after he twisted my arm, I agreed. Well, in preparation, I reread my previous letter, and used Google to bring me up to date and, what do you know, the situation has changed.For starters,the government has now pre-approved (and will continue to do so) specific designs for various reactors. Additionally, the government has simplified the approval procedure for the location and construction of new facilities. As a direct result of these actions, there are now 10 new nuclear power plants in the process of being given the “go-ahead”.In my opinion, the rationale in support of increasing our use of nuclear power remains overwhelming. 1. We now have 103 operating reactors, at 64 sites, in 31 states, (but none in Colorado ) and they supply 20 percent of our electric power. (Vermont gets 79 percent of its power, and four other states get more than 50 percent of their power from nuclear reactors. ) They have operated reliably and safely for many many years. There has never been an operational fatality! 2. The cost of electrical power from a nuclear plant is less than from either a coal- or gas-fired facility, and nuclear power will become even more cost-effective as the prices of coal and/or gas continue their inevitable escalation. 3. Nuclear power plants produce no carbon dioxide or other emissions that contribute to global warming, nor to the pollution of our air or water supplies. 4. The suitability of Yucca Mountain for permanent storage has been studied (and re-studied and re-studied) and has been confirmed as a safe site for the permanent storage of nuclear waste. Until it is totally ready, “on site” storage and an “intermediate” storage site have also been studied and approved.I am delighted to tell you that our country is on its way to cheaper, cleaner electric power!David Le VineDillonSupports the kidsI read Commissioner Menconi’s article last week about the state of the county and was particularly happy to see him mention his number one priority as Early Childhood. I speak from two points of view being a professional in the early childhood field but more importantly as a mother of two wonderful children, age 3 and 6. I just returned from the national Smart Conference which brought together more than 2,000 people from 48 states who work in early childhood. I was inspired to see so many intelligent and caring individuals who care so deeply about the children who are our future. One person at the conference actually stated this even better: “Children are our present hope.”I am proud to be part of a community who is looking at trying to solve some early childhood issues such as health care for every child, early prevention and screening for all children, living wages for child-care providers, quality improvements in preschools, subsidies for those who can’t afford preschool and many, many more important issues. Julia Kozusko AvonIllegals a true problemKaye Ferry wrote on Wednesday that she was “shocked” and “outraged” that 88-80 percent of The Vail Daily readers found illegal immigration the most important issue facing Eagle County today, according to a newspaper poll. Her explanation? The readers “have lost their minds.” Her solution? Watch a movie titled “A Day Without A Mexican.” We might assume Kaye is right and 90 percent of her fellow citizens are wrong – presumably because they didn’t see the movie. Or, we might come to the conclusion that a self-described “mocumentary” film reviewers described as “heavy-handed” and “amateurish” provides too little information on which to form an opinion on a subject as important as illegal immigration. In other words, Kaye’s readers might know more than she does about illegal immigration and have come to a more informed conclusion.Kaye would understand her neighbors’ overwhelming concerns about illegal immigration if she stayed out of Blockbuster and visited the Vail library. Then she would find out why up to 85 percent of Americans favor a wall on our border with Mexico. (This level of support correlates highly with the results of The Vail Daily poll.) She would also find that crime, social costs and language have made illegal immigration a burning issue for many Americans.Americans have and will continue to welcome legal immigrants who come to the United States to work hard. However, our porous borders also allow murderers, rapists and drug dealers to illegally enter our country. This is a huge problem. The Washington Times wrote on September 25, 2002, that “a 100-mile-wide stretch of wild desert has become one of America’s newest drug corridors. Mexican drug lords, backed by corrupt Mexican military officers and police officials, will move tons of marijuana, cocaine and heroin this year over rugged desert trails to accomplices in Phoenix and Tucson.”It’s a well-documented fact that illegal immigrants cost the U.S. taxpayer billions. Here is one key statistic:-Based on National Academy of Sciences calculations from the year 2000, the lifetime fiscal impact of the average adult Mexican immigrant on the U.S. economy — that means the estimated dollar value of taxes paid versus services used (remember, few illegals pay much in taxes, yet qualify for many benefits, including medical) – is negative $55,200. Meanwhile, Latinos send billions home instead of spending these U.S.-earned funds in the U.S. economy.-According to the Inter-American Development Bank, more than $30.1 billion is remitted to countries south of the border by Latino immigrants in the U.S.Finally, the unending supply of cheap labor reduces wages for U.S. workers.-Harvard University economist George Borjas reckons that the inflow of so many immigrants with less than a high school education has depressed the wages of similar American citizens by 7 percent of what they would otherwise be.A disinclination to learn English also contributes to the problem. On a daily basis, Americans resent the voice mail command to “press ‘1’ for English.” It’s a minor annoyance, but a constant reminder that our country is being taken over by foreigners who do not respect our language or culture.Contrast the following two ideas. The first is from Teddy Roosevelt: “There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag . . . We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language . . . and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”Compare that to Mexican writer Elena Poniatowska, who affirmed “that Mexico is presently recovering the territories lost in the past to the United States, thanks to emigration. The people of the poor … are advancing in the United States, a country that wants to speak Spanish because 33.4 million Hispanics impose their culture.”Before Kaye Ferry calls her readers insulting names, she should first try to understand why they hold their views. Maybe they’re right.Chuck CurtisLionsheadVail, Colorado


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