Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirFebruary 21, 20183min651

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper had kind words Tuesday for Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Director Matt Lepore, who announced he would resign next month to return to the private sector.

The anti-oil-and-gas advocacy group Food & Water Watch, meanwhile, said Lepore shouldn’t let the door swat him in the backside on his way out. Well, something like that.

The Colorado Department of Natural Resources touted Lepore’s tenure in a press release:

Under Lepore’s leadership, the COGCC comprehensively strengthened the state’s oil and gas regulations, expanded Commission staff to improve oversight of industry activities, amplified the role of local governments and dramatically increased the access and volume of regulatory data available to the public.

…and elaborated:

Lepore led regulatory changes to increase distances between drilling and neighborhoods; reduce the effects of light, noise and odors; protect and monitor groundwater; tighten requirements for spill reporting; significantly elevate penalties for operators violating Commission rules; toughen requirements for operating in floodplains; increase the role of local governments in siting large operations near communities and overhaul requirements for design, installation, maintenance, testing, tracking and abandoning flowlines.

Here’s the guv, quoted in the press release:

“Matt performed one of the most demanding jobs in state government. He did so with style and substance that provided calm over an area often at the center of controversy … Matt always put safeguarding public safety and the environment first. Under his leadership, Colorado developed regulations that have been used as models across the country.”

Not so fast, said Lauren Petrie, the Rocky Mountain region director of Food & Water Watch, in a statement the group released shortly after Lepore’s announcement:

We welcome Lepore’s long overdue departure from the COGCC — it might just be the best decision he’s made as the agency’s leader. Coloradans are waking up to the fact that the COGCC is failing miserably to protect our health and safety. It comes as no surprise that Lepore’s next move will be lobbying for the fossil fuel industry, since he has been protecting its interests during his five-year tenure as a regulator. While we are happy to see Lepore go, we will hold the new director accountable to protect the public interest, just the same.”

Lepore will join the energy consulting firm Adamantine Energy. His successor as commission director already has been named: Julie Murphy, currently assistant director for energy and minerals at the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.


Mike McKibbinMike McKibbinAugust 29, 201618min368

It's official, the fight against fracking has reached a dead end in this 2016 election year in news perhaps not surprising to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. The governor this week predicted the demise of two ballot initiatives that would have sought to limit hydraulic fracturing operations in the state. Turns out he was right. Neither of the two measures proposed by anti-fracking activist groups will appear on the November general election ballot after the Colorado Secretary of State's Office determined not enough valid signatures had been turned in by advocates to accomplish that goal. Anti-fracking groups allege an "unprecedented" amount of opposition funding and harassment of petition signature collectors by oil- and-natural-gas-backed opponents helped to keep the two proposed measures off the ballot.

Jared WrightJared WrightAugust 11, 201639min542

DENVER — Today is the 150th day anniversary of The Hot Sheet! Pretty cool, huh? Thanks for being a loyal reader. In Colorado politics, who among us thought we would be writing so much about an elevator in a Colorado Springs hotel? Seriously? And, Mike Coffman continues to distance himself from Donald Trump, riding a careful strategy that is no doubt attached directly to polling data (smart, but too crafty by half for Democratic strategists not to take note and make issue - also smart). Democrats continue to take full advantage of an unprecedented GOP "toxic" coat tails situation by playing an ongoing game of connect the dots between the national political stage and the state one. The Colorado GOP, however, is not exactly inexperienced in maneuvering through this particular minefield. Lest we not forget, it was not all that long ago they had Dan Maes to deal with ... and Tom Tancredo ... well, they still have Tancredo. Read on for much, much more ...