This is the first in a series aimed at distilling the candidates’ viewpoints and track records on key issues. Stay tuned for a snapshot of their positions on affordable housing, land use, and ethics.
On this issue, the candidates’ positions are pretty clear cut on whether or not to pursue federal Wilderness designation. The short story: Mallett for; Holman against. Backstory: both men consider themselves sportsman. Mallett still actively hunts and fishes. Holman said he hasn’t hunted for a while because he simply found it increasingly hard to pull the trigger. Mallett says the 21,000 acres proposed wilderness provides key winter habitat for many large animal species, includes unique geologic formations and offers one of the few low-elevation wilderness areas in the Rockies. Holman says Wilderness permanently restricts access to public land for those not able-bodied enough to access it without motorized assistance.
Both candidates conceptually support development of renewable energy in Chaffee County but they differ in emphasis. Although Holman attended, Mallett had the higher profile at last month’s Sustainability Showcase hosted by Colorado Mountain College. Mallett also converted an old VW bug to electric power. Mallett also takes credit for installing solar panels at the county fairgrounds, establishing a local Energy Star program and working with the private sector to evaluate and develop biodiesel, woody biomass, solar photovoltaic (PV) farms, wind generation and low-head hydropower.
Mallett has noticeably been absent from all the public meetings by the folks up Chalk Creek Canyon who are pursuing development of a geothermal energy project. Holman has been at them all and expressed optimism and encouragement for geothermal energy development. Mount Princeton Geothermal LLC shows promise for becoming the first geothermal energy project in the state. Early modelling indicates geothermal-generated power could provide enough electricity to supply most households in Chaffee County. Holman favors encouraging the development of renewable energy through incentives vs. government funding.