On Monday June 22, Governor Polis announced five new appointments to the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission. Last year, the Governor signed the much debated Senate Bill 181 that included the transition of the commission from 9 members to 5. The 5 members have various backgrounds and expertise. "Unfortunately, there is no representation at all from the Western Slope," stated Rio Blanco County Commissioner Jeff Rector. "It's disappointing. As we've been saying since before Senate Bill 181 was passed, the one-size-fits-all mindset just doesn't work. If you drive around Rio Blanco County, you'll see a place without air or water quality issues. The oil and gas industry is already highly regulated and our producers follow the rules. They care about our natural resources and about the health and safety of our citizens as much as anyone else. Our situation in Rio Blanco County is much different than other areas and should be treated as such. I will remain hopeful that the new commission will spend time visiting with and learning from contractors and experts in the industry before making decisions. We'll keep showing up to make sure the voices of Western Colorado and Rio Blanco County are heard."
The Governor's appointments include the following:
effective July 8, 2020 for a term expiring July 1, 2022:
Priya K. Nanjappa of Lakewood, Colorado, to serve as a member with formal training or substantial experience in environmental protection, wildlife protection, or reclamation appointed;
Nanjappa has experience in biodiversity, conservation, environmental and wildlife management policies. She has worked as the Director of Operations at Conservation Science Partners, Inc. and Program Manager for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA).
effective July 8, 2020 for a term expiring July 1, 2024:
Karin L. McGowan of Lakewood, Colorado, to serve as a member with formal training or substantial experience in public health and appointed;
McGowan has worked at the Department of Public Health and Environment since 2009 and currently serves as the Deputy Executive Director. McGowan has experience in public health, health equity, air, and water policy.
John August Messner of Gunnison, Colorado to serve as a member with substantial expertise in planning or land use appointed;
Messner has served as Gunnison County Commissioner and has experience in public policy related to outdoor recreation, land use, and local government. Messer has served on the volunteer commission since 2019.
effective July 1, 2020 for a term expiring July 1, 2022:
Bill Gonzalez of Denver, Colorado, to serve as a member with substantial experience in the oil and gas industry appointed;
Gonzalez has worked as Land Manager with Occidental and holds a Juris Doctorate from The University of Texas School of Law.
effective July 1, 2020 for a term expiring July 1, 2024:
Jeffery Philip Robbins of Durango, Colorado to serve as a member with professional experience demonstrating an ability to contribute to the commission’s body of expertise that will aid the commission in making sound, balanced decisions, and as Chair, appointed;
Robbins was previously appointed as Director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in 2019 by Gov. Polis and has worked as an attorney, partner, and shareholder with Goldman, Robbins, Nicholson & Mack, P.C. in Durango.
Julie Murphy, current COGCC Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Advisor, will replace Jeff Robbins as COGCC Director, Department of Natural Resources Executive Director Dan Gibbs also announced today. Murphy previously held the COGCC Director position before serving as the Assistant Director of Energy and Minerals at the Department of Natural Resources and as an Assistant Attorney General representing the Commission and the Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety.