Gov. John Hickenlooper on 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 led 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 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 force 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.
The conflicts are being driven by a Front Range oil and gas drilling boom unlocked by the use of hydrofracturing, or fracking, and horizontal drilling in the Niobrara shale formation.
The most intense drilling is taking place in Weld County, and county residents and officials are represented on the task force.
Sara Barwinski, a member of Weld Air and Water, a Greeley group opposing drilling in residential areas, was named to the group, as was Weld County Clerk Steve Moreno.
"This an opportunity to get it right when it comes to the proper siting of oil and gas activity," Barwinski said.
The industry representatives include Dan Kelly, a vice president for Noble Energy Inc., and Brad Holly, a vice president at Anadarko Petroleum Corp.
Noble and Anadarko are the two biggest drillers in the state.
There are five oil and gas representatives.
In addition, Bruce Rau, vice chairman of the Colorado Association of Home Builders, and Kent Peppler, president of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, are on the task force.
Matt Sura, an attorney who represents communities and homeowner groups in negotiations with oil companies, also was named to the panel.
The task force was part of a compromise between Hickenlooper and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, in exchange for Polis dropping his backing of two ballot initiatives that aimed to amend the state constitution to bolster local control over oil and gas operations.
"The governor's announcement of the Oil and Gas Task Force is the first step forward in solving the problem of fracking occurring anywhere and everywhere," Polis said in a statement.
Two industry-backed initiatives also were withdrawn as part of the agreement.
"After a divisive summer, I am hopeful this panel of diverse voices and interests will find, and promote, workable solutions," Colorado Oil & Gas Association CEO Tisha Schuller said in a statement.
Who's on the task force?
Here are the 19 people appointed to serve on Gov. John Hickenlooper's oil and gas task force:
• Sara Barwinski, member of community group Weld Air and Water
• Bernie Buescher, former Colorado secretary of state
• Peter Dea, Cirque Resources LP president and CEO
• Jim Fitzgerald, rancher, educator, activist
• Russ George, former speaker of the House and past director of Department of Natural Resources
• Jon Goldin-Dubois, president, Western Resources Advocates
• Brad Holly, vice president of operations (Rocky Mountain Region), Anadarko
• Dan Kelly, vice president of Wattenberg Business Unit, Noble Energy
• Rebecca Kourlis, retired justice of the Colorado Supreme Court
• Steve Moreno, Weld County clerk and recorder
• Perry Pearce, manager of state government affairs (Rocky Mountain Region), ConocoPhillips
• Kent Peppler, president, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union
• Pat Quinn, former Broomfield mayor
• Bruce Rau, vice chairman, Colorado Association of Home Builders
• Jeff Robbins, attorney, Goldman Robbins & Nicholson
• Matt Sura, attorney, Law Office of Matthew Sura
• Will Toor, former Boulder mayor and Boulder County commissioner
• Elbra Wedgeworth, chief government and community relations officer, Denver Health
• Scot Woodall, Bill Barrett Corp. president and CEO