The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission was created to oversee oil and gas development in the state of Colorado. Recently, the commission was charged with prioritizing public health and safety, the environment and wildlife above all else, while previously, it existed to primarily “foster” the development of oil and gas. The previous stance is not in alignment with the values of conservation-minded Coloradans.
This shift in priorities was significant enough that the state Legislature felt a full-time professional staff was needed for the commission to focus on key areas such as wildlife, the environment, public health and safety, land use and planning. On July 1, five new issue-specific commissioners were appointed by the governor to lend their expertise in the important areas listed above.
While this move may seem bureaucratic, prioritizing these key areas will have a positive impact on balancing future oil and gas development with the concerns and needs of Colorado families and communities. I applaud the Legislature and Gov. Jared Polis for prioritizing these critical issues in the 2019 legislation, and I strongly encourage the new commissioners to take these issues to heart.
By listening to Coloradans and the communities most impacted by oil and gas development, we will trend toward a more sustainable future. Jeff Robbins, the new COGCC commission chairman and previous interim director, has roots in Southwest Colorado and a strong environmental track record. As a citizen of Colorado, I am excited by the potential for progress under his continued leadership.
Jaime Nicole BecktelMancos