The revamped Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission under Governor Hickenloloper reflects a new era of “collaboration,” or a shift away from environmental protection, depending on who you ask. The more accurate assessment probably falls some where in the middle.
Posted by Ann Rascalli
The previous state commissioners’ terms expired July 1st, and only two of the commission members were reappointments, so the Governor had nearly a blank slate. The new commissioners replace members whose terms expired last month. They must be confirmed by the Colorado Senate and will serve terms of four years, expiring July 1, 2015.
“Different voices and a united spirit of collaboration are key to the success of the commission,” Hickenlooper said. “We are confident this group will help serve the industry, land owners and the environment well as it navigates through issues that are important to both the state’s economy and protection of Colorado’s beautiful landscapes.”
New appointments include:
♦ Andrew Lawrence Spielman, a Democrat, an attorney at Hogan Lovells in Denver and chairman of Colorado’s Regional Air Quality Council.
♦ John H. Benton, vice president and general manager for the Rockies Division of Rex Energy Corp. in Denver, a Republican.
♦ W. Perry Pearce of Denver, a Democrat and manager of state government affairs for ConocoPhillips/Burlington Resources.
Two members were also reappointed to serve four-year terms:
♦ Thomas L. Compton, a Republican, owner and manager of Compton Cattle Co., a commercial beef cattle enterprise in Hesperus.
♦ Grand Junction-based Richard D. Alward, a Democrat, from Aridlands Natural Resource Consulting .
The governor also appointed Mike King, executive director of the Department of Natural Resources, and Chris Urbina, executive director of the Department of Public Health & Environment. The term of the ninth member of the commission, Republican Dolly Ann “DeAnn” Craig of Denver, expires July 1, 2012.
Some environmental groups have voiced concern about the new appointments and say they will hold the Governor accountable for finding the right balance between drilling and protecting the environment and wildlife. But industry groups were generally receptive to the new look of the COGCC.
Hickenlooper “clearly sees the benefit and need for economic growth and putting more Coloradans back to work, but today’s appointments clearly show his respect for the environment as well,” said Peter Dea, vice president of the Western Energy Alliance and president of Cirque Resources.