Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has appointed three new members of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) for terms which start immediately and will expire July 1, 2020.

Membership of the commission is mandated by law to include a mix of members from varying backgrounds including the oil and gas industry, agriculture, government interests, royalty owners and others.

Three New COGCC Members Appointed by Colo. Gov. Hickenlooper

The governor’s executive order lists the new appointments as follows:

Ashley Lowe of Durango, Colorado, “to serve as a member with formal training or substantial experience in soil conservation or reclamation, west of the Continental Divide and as a Democrat”;

Kent Jolley of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, “to serve as a member actively engaged in agricultural production, as a royalty owner, west of the Continental Divide and as a Republican”; and

Winston Perry Pearce of Denver, Colorado, “to serve as a member with substantial experience in the oil and gas industry and with a college degree in petroleum geology or petroleum engineering, and as a Democrat.”


The COGCC’s mission is “to foster the responsible development of Colorado’s oil and gas natural resources. According to the commission’s mission statement:

“Responsible development results in:

  • The efficient exploration and production of oil and gas resources in a manner consistent with the protection of public health, safety and welfare.
  • The prevention of waste.
  • The protection of mineral owners’ correlative rights.
  • The prevention and mitigation of adverse environmental impacts.

The COGCC seeks to serve, solicit participation from, and maintain working relationships with all those having an interest in Colorado’s oil and gas natural resources.”

The COGCC serves as the permitting and regulating body for the state of Colorado over oil and gas operations, and it is well-known nationally for having set some of the most stringent oil and gas regulations to protect water and clean air in the country.

Other states have modeled or revised their own rules after the COGCC.  The commission is known to issue strict but fair regulations and enforcement on oil and gas company operations in the state, while protecting the rights of mineral owners to develop and sell their minerals and protecting the environment. Oil and gas companies who follow the COGCC rules work well in and with the State, rendering the extraction of oil and gas a significant business opportunity in Colorado. The drilling permit requirements are available here.

Will the COGCC Have New Operations to Regulate after November?

Ironically, that business opportunity could go away,  taking with it $14.5 billion and 104,000 jobs and lowering the GDP of the state.

Three New COGCC Members Appointed by Colo. Gov. Hickenlooper

If initiative 78 is certified, is placed on the Nov. 2016 ballot and is passed by Colorado voters, the red area will be excluded from new oil and gas drilling and completion activity: COGCC

If the signatures for ballot initiative #78 (mandatory 2,500-foot setback for oil and gas operations)—the proposed amendment to the Colorado constitution by environmental activists—are certified sending the proposed amendment to the November ballot; and if the amendment is approved by voters on Nov. 8, 2016, the rule making and enforcing function of the COGCC will be a moot point for new drilling and development once the amendment is in force, as the 2,500-foot setback will remove 90% of Colorado’s surface land from contention for drilling, according to a study by the COGCC.

Petitions to stop oil and gas activity in Colorado

Anti-oil and gas volunteers assemble their petitions for initiative 75 and 78 to turn in on Aug. 8. Photo: Greenpeace

Petitions for the 2,500-foot setback amendment are in the certification queue now by the Colorado Secretary of State. The process is moving quickly: the first proposed amendment be certified is a non-oil and gas initiative—the mandatory minimum wage. It was announced as certified today. That proposal will appear on the November ballot, the Secretary of State said today in a news release.

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