By Mark Jaffe – The Denver Post – September, 8, 2014
Gov. John Hickenlooper Monday named the 19 members of a task force charged with defusing the sometimes bitter land-use clashes between oil and gas drilling and communities.
The task force is a blend of representatives of the oil industry, local government, environmentalists and other economic interests.
There are also distinguished Coloradans who are not directly involved in the dispute. These include Russ George, former Speaker of the House and head of the Department of Natural Resources and retired state Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Love Kourlis.
“Critical to the success and effectiveness of this task force is ensuring there is balanced and informed representation,” Hickenlooper said in a statement.
The task force will be chaired by La Plata County Commissioner Gwen Lachelt and XTO Energy Inc. president Randy Cleveland.
The governor on Tuesday will issue the executive order that gives the task force its charge.
“Almost as important is as who is on the commission is what they are expected to do,” said Geoff Wilson, counsel to the Colorado Municipal League.
The general charge of the task for is to craft recommendation — which can be turned into legislation — aimed at minimizing land-use conflicts between oil and gas operators and communities.
Under Colorado law, local governments do not have the power to ban or strictly limit oil and gas operations. The courts have ruled the state has the ultimate regulatory authority over drilling.