Oil and Gas Rules-Colorado

Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission staff members held a meeting Wednesday, May 15, 2019, in Denver to hear public comment on the first rule changes under a new law that makes protecting the public and the environment the top priorities of regulators.

Just ahead of its first meeting as a reconstituted board, Gov. Jared Polis on Friday announced his picks for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), the state's main regulator of the industry.

The COGCC is being re-formed in the wake of the passage of Senate Bill 181, which changed the body's top priority from encouraging energy production to protecting public health and safety.

Along with that change in mission came a change in who would sit on the board.

Polis retained two members of the previous board: Oil and gas attorney Howard Boigon of Denver and Erin Overturf of Denver, deputy director of Western Resources Advocates' Clean Energy Program. Both are Democrats.

The new members:

  • Brenda Haun of Grover, Colorado, a representative of agricultural production or royalty. Haun, who is unaffiliated, is a veterinarian and with her family owns a cattle ranch in Weld County, according to the Polis announcement.
  • John Messner of Gunnison, a representative of local government. Messner, a Gunnison County commissioner and a Democrat,  testified in favor of SB 181 in March.
  • Liane Jollon of Durango, representing public health. Jollon, who is unaffiliated, is director of San Juan Basin Public Health.
  • Mark Hopkins of Broomfield, who will serve as a member with "technical expertise relevant to the issues considered by the commission." Hopkins, a Republican, is a retired Chevron engineer.
  • Pam Eaton of Boulder, the panel's "wildlife protection" member. Eaton, a Democrat, founded Green West Strategies, which focuses on conservation and renewable energy, and is a former executive with the Wilderness Society. Her Twitter feed contains numerous references to clean energy and anti-coal sentiments.

State law allows Polis to appoint seven of the COGCC's nine members. The executive directors of the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Public Health and Environment also sit on the board as non-voting members. The terms for all of the new members expire on July 1, 2020, and must be confirmed by the state Senate, where Democrats hold a narrow majority.

Dan Haley, president of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, said in a statement Friday that the commission "will be diving into a number of complicated and highly technical regulatory rulemakings over the coming year. COGA and its members are ready to serve as a resource and as an active stakeholder in those discussions.” 

The new board will hold its first meeting Tuesday, May 21, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the COGCC office, 1120 Lincoln Street, Suite 801, Denver.

COGCC staff members held a meeting Wednesday to hear public comment on the first rule changes under a new law that makes protecting the public and the environment the top priorities of regulators.

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