Taos Hydro Power Project Announced
(Political Satire) In what could be a boon and boom for southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, the Department of Interior has announced plans for the El Chiflo Water and Power project. A bi-state tri-county partnership has been created to build a hydroelectric dam to conserve water, create energy sources and economic development in Costilla, Conejos, and Taos Counties. The facility will be built near Cerro, New Mexico in the Wild River area of the Rio Grande. The project has been a lifelong dream of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar of Manassa, Colorado, and Virgil Martinez, former Taos County commissioner, current KCEC trustee, and Cerro resident.
According to a prepared statement, Salazar was quoted as saying “We’re going to make the fields bloom in Colorado and New Mexico.”
“Economies of scale are the key to agriculture, electricity, and the economy,” said Martinez.
The project was conceived of during the New Deal era and legislation was passed to provide funding. Due to WWII, construction was postponed and the trust fund was lost in a bureaucratic bungle. “Now, the Interior Department’s Trust Fund, once lost, has been found,” said Salazar. “The interest on the income from longtime levies on grazing fees will pay for the project.” He added, “Chevron has already offered to buy all the power El Chiflo can generate.”
The Secretary of Interior said construction would take five years and provide more than five hundred jobs during the construction phase. “Locals and veterans will be given first chance at jobs. A permanent cadre of 150 technicians will be needed to operate the power and light facility along with managing irrigation flows for the Rio Grande and pipelines, which will be installed to benefit municipalities.”
Given the expected demise of the San Juan—Chama diversion project, due to calls on the Colorado River by downstream users, Salazar said the project was opportune. “It’s the answer to a common prayer by parcientes and farmers in the area.”
“It will be a lifesaver for New Mexico,” said Martinez.
Salazar said representatives from each entity would have one vote: two states, three counties, two coops (Kit Carson Electric in New Mexico, the San Luis Electric Coop in Colo.) and two at large. “Compensation for the board of directors will mirror the private sector so that we get the best and wisest people.”
Questioned about NEPA requirements in the Wild Rivers area, Salazar said, “This project is being done under a Homeland Security waiver so the EPA has no jurisdiction. Any project within two hundred miles of a National Nuclear Security Administration facility, like Los Alamos, means security comes first—not silvery minnows or river otters,” he laughed.
“We’ll have more boating, better fishing, and fewer ditch fights,” said Martinez.
Calls to the environmental community, Amigos Bravos, Rg3, and Taylor Streit, fly fisherman and bon vivant, were not returned at press time. Writer and naturalist John Nichols called it a logical outgrowth of capitalism and an example of how vigilant local communities must remain if they want to retain their indigenous culture. “I doubt if Joe Mondragon and the Senile Brigade can stop this development. Amarante Cordova may be alive in Ed Sandoval’s paintings but his day has passed,” said the writer.
The New Mexico Association of Water and Sewer Districts (NMAWSD) will hold their annual meeting in Taos at the town’s Civic Center, Nov. 1—3. More than 150 representatives are expected at the El Meze restaurant reception on Tuesday evening from 5 to 7 pm. Wednesday morning at 9 am, El Prado Water and Sanitation board member, John Painter, will discuss “Red, White, and Blue: Singing the Budget Blues? Cut the Red Tape with Wite-Out.”
The KCEC CEO, Luis Reyes, according to a press release, will receive the “National Rural Broadband Award” at Las Vegas, Nevada for creating successful Coop Diversification. Mr. Reyes is seen as an innovator of clean energy and modern communication. Nine Trustees, several wives and girlfriends from the Taos area are expected to accompany the CEO to what is known in Coop circles as the “Annual Romp.” What they’re saying at NMRECA and Tri-State: “Can you believe the way that half-pint so and so took Obama for a ride?”
The National Association of Counties Organization (NACO) has awarded Taos County its annual “Vision Award: Building for the 22nd Century.” The press release says, “Rural areas rarely prepare for future growth in the way that these County Commissioner have. In one hundred years, Taosenos will still be talking about their foresight.”
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