Gov. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday filled two vacant positions on the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), including a position for an environmentalist formerly held by Andy Spielman, an attorney whose firm works for oil and gas operator Anadarko.
Environmental attorney Erin Overturf, who serves as chief energy counsel for Western Resource Advocates, will fill the vacancy left by Spielman, who resigned on April 20 after serving for six years.
Per COGCC rules, Spielman’s position was intended for someone with “significant experience in environmental or wildlife protection.” In April 2015, Spielman joined law firm WilmerHale as chair of its Energy, Environment and Natural Resources practice.
WilmerHale recently made headlines when it was discovered that, in the wake of the home explosion in Firestone, law partner and former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar called Gov. John Hickenlooper, representing himself as legal counsel for Anadarko.
According to the firm’s website, the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources practice represents “clients in a broad spectrum of industries—including oil and gas exploration, production, and transportation, renewable energy, gas and electric transmission and distribution, mining, recreation, aviation, defense, life sciences and pharmaceuticals, and financial services.”
Spielman’s own work with the firm, according to the website, has included securing land use approvals for nearly 4,000 megawatts of wind energy, assisting with development approvals of interstate pipelines for natural gas transmission, and representing mining companies before the US Department of the Interior.
Overturf, an attorney, wouldn’t comment on the work of her predecessor, Spielman, or WilmerHale’s recent work with Anadarko.
“All I can say is that I’m really excited to serve the people of Colorado in this role, and I’m really excited to dig into these issues,” she said.
As part of the new appointments, oil and gas attorney Howard Boigon replaced Winston Pearce, who resigned from the commission in March 2014. Pearce held one of three positions given to affiliates of the oil and gas industry.