Fri July 29, 2011

Hick's Picks to Gas Commission Draw Cheers, Skepticism

Governor John Hickenlooper has appointed four new members to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.  The move is winning initial praise from industry representatives, but  some environmentalists are left wondering whether his choices will keep the commission balanced.

In a statement, Tisha Conoly Schuller, President of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, says her organization has worked with the new appointees and they are thoughtful, fair minded, and bring needed balance to the COGCC which is the state's chief regulatory arm for oil and gas drilling.


Environmentalists aren't ready to say that just yet. 

"On balance, as compared to the last commission, there does seem to be a shift to the right," said Elise Jones, executive director of the Colorado Environmental Coalition.  "However, a number of these names are relatively unknown to us."

The Governor has insisted that his appointees are moderate and will make reasonable decisions.  Jones says her organization will be closely monitoring what issues the new commission is willing to address before they make a final judgment.

As for the rest of the nine-member commission which is now required by state law to include health and environmental experts, the Governor extended the terms of four existing members, and a ninth member's term expires in a year.  

Daniel Costello reporting from the state capitol.