Five new members to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commissioner were appointed by Gov. Bill Ritter on Thursday which increased the board from seven members to nine and added a greater diversity to the make up of the panel.
Emphasis on impacts on the environment, public health and wildlife will now be considered when the commission makes decisions about the exploration and development of oil and gas resources. The new rules were part of House Bill 07-1341. Read more below.In addition to increasing the board size and clarifying its mission to require oil and gas development be balanced with the ongoing protection of the environment and citizens welfare, two members would be required to reside on the Western Slope.
From the governor’s office press release:
“With these new commissioners operating under a new set of goals and priorities, I’m confident we can ensure responsible and reasonable development of our vast oil and gas resources, and protect Colorado’s land, water, public health, wildlife and communities,” Gov. Ritter said. “We can create an energy future for our state and our nation that is built on the best available technology and does not come at the expense of our environmental future.
“Last week I toured the Roan Plateau and stood on the precipice of the Vermillion Basin in northwest Colorado,” the Governor added. “This crystallized for me just how important striking this balance will be for generations to come.”
The five new members who will be serving a four-year term after their Senate confirmation include:
Joshua B. Epel of Greenwood Village, who is the assistant general counsel for DCP Midstream, which is one of the nation’s largest natural gas gatherers and processors, the largest natural gas liquids (NGLs) producer and one of the largest NGL marketers in the U.S. DCP Midstream is a 50-50 joint venture between Spectra Energy and ConocoPhillips.
Epel helped author the Colorado Voluntary Cleanup Act and the Colorado Air Pollution Prevention and Control Act. He has served on the Regional Air Quality Council and the Steering Committee for the Grand Canyon Visibility Transport Commission.
Richard D. Alward of Grand Junction is an ecologist and owner of Aridlands Natural Resources Consulting. As an independent environmental consultant, he provides information to federal land agencies so they can assess the potential impacts of gas, coal, and uranium development on western Colorado ecosystems.
He is an adjunct instructor of environmental science at Mesa State College and previously has worked as an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. Alward unsuccessful sought the House District 54 position in 2006.
Michael P. Dowling of Denver is founder and principal of Western Ranchland Investors and founder and president of the Dowling Foundation. Prior to that, he held in-house and management consulting positions with General Atlantic Resources Inc. of Denver and McKinsey & Co. of New York.
Dowling also is a founding member and current chairman of the Colorado Conservation Trust and former Chairman of the Colorado Wildlife Federation and former Board member of the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts. Prior to 1995, Mr. Dowling worked as an environmental consultant.
Thomas L. Compton of Hesperus, owner and manager of the Compton Cattle Co. commercial beef cattle enterprise. He is vice president of the Colorado Rural Electric Association board of directors and served on the Governor’s Task Force on Colorado Roadless Areas. Compton applied for a seat reserved for a farmer or rancher who owns mineral royalties.
Compton said his personal experience with gas companies, specifically BP, has been positive. “From a personal point of view, we’ve had very few problems with oil and gas development,” he said, though he knows of instances where gas companies weren’t as “congenial” in their dealings with landowners, according to a Cortez Journal article.