Bane or boost? 

Street Smarts

Colorado — El Paso County included — is in position to see a huge uptick in oil and gas drilling. Local views on that range anywhere from wait-and-see to drill-baby-drill.

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Julie Lester of the west side is a real estate professional

Relate your views on increasing oil and gas drilling in Colorado. I'm for it, providing it's done responsibly.

Are you confident local government will protect the environment when drilling begins? Marginally. I'm from Alaska. I saw responsible drilling done in Prudhoe Bay, but it came with a lot of bargaining with various parties, particularly the native associations. I'm not confident there's the same level of ecological responsibility here.

Will solar or wind power ever be a major U.S. energy source? There's a need for it, and a lot of bright minds are working on it.

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Patrick Butler of downtown is a human resources professional

Do you favor increased oil and gas drilling in Colorado? If it's environmentally safe, yes. We need the jobs.

How confident are you that local government will adequately protect the environment when drilling begins? Not very.

If it came down to one or the other, would you most favor job creation or environmental protection? I'll pull a Newt Gingrich and say that's a false dichotomy. There are ways to do both.

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Fran Weitzel of downtown is a clinical psychologist

Do you favor more oil and gas drilling in Colorado? Definitely not, because of what it does to the landscape.

How about in El Paso County? Even more so, no.

Will solar and wind power ever be a major energy source? There are places where it already is. The potential is there.

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Bob Gochenaur of Ute Valley Park is retired military

Would you like to see more energy drilling in Colorado? I'd like to see more everywhere — and that's a gutsy position, considering I own land that I don't own the mineral rights to.

Will our local government adequately protect the environment when the drilling begins? I question local government's expertise to do that.

Will wind or sun ever become a major energy source? No. I'm setting up a small solar power system at a house I'm building in Gunnison. The cost of solar cells, and limitations as to how far energy generated by them can be transmitted, make the larger economic picture questionable.


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