Chuck McConnell: Get the other side |

Chuck McConnell: Get the other side

In this age of controversy and divisiveness, getting people to reach an agreement on an issue long enough to move a problem or issue positively forward seems impossible. In our community, the oil and gas exploration issue falls in this area. I believe information on all sides of any issue is essential to establish a basis for good decisions.

Feelings about oil and gas exploration run high on both sides here in Routt County, as has been demonstrated in testimonies at Board of County Commissioner and Planning Commission meetings over the past three years. A Steamboat Pilot opinion poll in August 2012 indicated that nearly 58 percent of residents support oil and gas exploration in Routt County, with 33 percent opposed. The feelings on both sides are polarized and intractable.

I have taken part in many of these meetings and listened to and spoken with those opposed to oil and gas exploration and production. Much of their information, especially on hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," comes from the widely distributed documentary "Gasland." It is easy to see how strong negative feelings could evolve from this video. The problem is that much of the information in "Gasland" has been proven to be wrong and misleading.

This past Wednesday, the documentary "Frack Nation" was shown at The Ranch at Steamboat, sponsored by Citizens Supporting Property Rights. This video was produced to inform people about the fracking process (which has been going on since 1947) and to debunk much of the misinformation provided in "Gasland." Whether you accept the information presented in "Frack Nation" or not, I believe those opposed to oil and gas exploration owe it to themselves to be informed about both sides of the issue.

Energy, including coal and hydrocarbons, is critically important to our local economy. Colorado is in the midst of an oil and natural gas revolution right now that can, along with coal, help keep energy and electricity costs from exploding and can revitalize our economy. The energy industry provides high paying and long term employment which is essential to maintaining a robust economy in our state.

I urge our county leadership and appropriate staff, and anyone interested in the facts about oil and gas exploration, to watch "Frack Nation" to see this side of the issue.

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Chuck McConnell

Steamboat Springs