Doug Benevento appointed Region 8 administrator for Environmental Protection Agency

Author: Ernest Luning - October 5, 2017 - Updated: October 5, 2017

Doug Benevento (Courtesy Douglas County School Board)

President Donald Trump appointed Doug Benevento as Environment Protection Agency administrator for Region 8, which includes Colorado and five other western states.

The former chief of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is currently an executive at Xcel Energy and was an elected member of the Douglas County School Board until he resigned that office last year.

Benevento will run the EPA’s Denver-based regional office overseeing oversee the agency’s work in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana. He’ll replace Deb Thomas, the acting administrator since the Obama administration’s Shaun McGrath departed at the beginning of the year.

Benevento’s appointment won praise from across the aisle, with Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper lauding his work on state environmental issues.

“He provided leadership at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment under former Governor Bill Owens and as a staffer to former Senator Wayne Allard,” Hickenlooper said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Doug and the rest of EPA to improve the health of Coloradans and protect the natural resources we treasure as we live, work, and play in this beautiful state.”

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner called Benevento a great choice for the job.

“I look forward to working with Doug to make the communities whole in Southwest Colorado that were impacted by the EPA-born Gold King Mine spill, ensuring the expeditious cleanup of Colorado’s Superfund sites remain a top priority for the EPA, and protecting Colorado’s environment across all four corners of the state,” Gardner said in a statement.

“Doug Benevento’s personal connection to the Rocky Mountain state and experience working with environmental leaders across the region will greatly benefit the agency’s mission in protecting the environment in Region 8,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement announcing the appointment.

Jim Martin, an Obama-era Region 8 administrator and a former director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources under Hickenlooper, called Benevento a “sound choice” for the post.

“As a former regional administrator, I understand the challenges of the position and Doug is well suited to take on those challenges. Over the almost 20 years I’ve known Doug he’s brought a thoughtful approach to environmental policy and regulation. This was evidenced during his tenure at CDPHE in the Owens administration. I’m confident he will provide strong and effective leadership at EPA,” Martin said.

Benevento was elected twice to the Douglas County School Board and was part of the conservative majority that put in place a controversial voucher program.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.