Ritter hasn’t named new members to expanded commission | VailDaily.com

Ritter hasn’t named new members to expanded commission

DENVER ” The newly expanded Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is scheduled to meet in two weeks but so far only two of nine members have been named.

Gov. Bill Ritter, who pushed to expand the commission to make sure it had more representation from outside the industry, is still working on the appointments, spokesman Evan Dryer told the Durango Herald.

The commission previously was made up of seven members with at least five having energy backgrounds. Its membership was expanded to nine by the Legislature to ensure broader views.

The commission next meets July 23. Its June meeting was canceled because not enough commissioners showed up. Commissioners Brian Cree and Peter Mueller resigned during the debate over reforming the commission.

Tricia Beaver, who sets up hearings for the commission, said she thinks the July 23 hearing will happen, even though it’s unclear who will be on the commission. Five commissioners must be present.

So far there are only two confirmed, Harris Sherman, director of the state natural resources department and Jim Martin, director of the public health and environment department. The directors of both of those departments were added to the commission by the new law.

Greg Schnacke, executive president of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, says the industry is concerned the new commissioners won’t have the expertise needed.

“COGA’s not really focused so much on personalities as they are that the commission, at the end of the day, is a capable, competent, functioning commission that can deal with the wide variety of issues in front of it,” Schnacke said.

Information from: Durango Herald, http://www.durangoherald.com

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