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An Exit Interview With Mike King, Colorado's Director Of Natural Resources

Bente Birkland
Mike King, Executive Director of Colorado's Department of Natural Resources

Mike King, the executive director of Colorado's Department of Natural Resources, is leaving the position at the end of January 2016 to become Denver Water's new director of planning. Statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland sat down with him to talk about the future of oil and gas and the state's hydraulic fracturing debate, and his time heading the agency.

Interview Highlights With Mike King

On His Biggest Challenge Working Under Three Separate Governors

"Oil and gas has dominated the agenda… this is an industrial activity where people live and play and it's almost inevitable that the conflicts we've seen would arise. Now we're trying to work through those and see if we can come up with some better ways to engage communities and local governments early in the process to minimize some of those conflicts."

On Whether The State Is Headed For A Ballot Fight Over Fracking And The Current State Rulemaking

"There are clearly some local governments that want to be able to say yes or no. This rulemaking won't provide that veto power to local governments. That's going to come through legislation or ultimately an initiative process, which I think would be a fairly draconian way to go about trying to resolve this issue."

On Advice For His Successor

"I hope your heart is strong. This is a position where you take a lot of criticism. You have to come in with a dose of humility and also a strong sense of right and wrong and know that people are not going to agree with you at every turn. That's the hardest thing, is knowing that you're making people mad."

Bente Birkeland has been reporting on state legislative issues for KUNC and Rocky Mountain Community Radio since 2006. Originally, from Minnesota, Bente likes to hike and ski in her spare time. She keeps track of state politics throughout the year but is especially busy during the annual legislative session from January through early May.
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