Background: The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC)


Formed in 1951 with passage of the Colorado Oil and Gas Act


A division of the Colorado Department of Natural  Resources

Composed of 9 commissioners:

  • 7 appointed by the governor with consent of the state senate

  • Executive director of the Department of Natural Resources

  • Executive director of the Department of Public Health

  • Plus executive director of the COGCC, currently Matt Lepore, appointed by the head of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources

80-100 staff.

All of these people are unelected

Required background for commissioners:

  • At least 2 must live west of the continental divide

  • 3 need substantial experience in the oil and gas industry (2 of the 3 need a college degree in petroleum geology or petroleum engineering)

  • 1 local government official

  • 1 with formal training or substantial experience in environmental or wildlife protection and 1 in soil conservation or reclamation

  • 1 actively engaged in agricultural production and a royalty owner

The seven commissioners’ terms are 4 years each. They get $50 a day for each day they attend committee meetings and are reimbursed for expenses.

For such public figures with high-profile jobs, the commissioners cannot be contacted directly; unlike local public officials and staff, commissioners’ contact information is not published on the COGCC website.

COGCC’s dual mission: Promote oil and gas development and "regulate" that development (or, as the COGCC website says: “foster the responsible development of Colorado’s oil and gas natural resources”).

"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 [anything that unreasonably reduces the amount of oil and gas produced].

  • The protection of mineral owners' correlative rights.

  • The prevention and mitigation of adverse environmental impacts.”


Additional COGCC information:

Getting to Know Your COGCC Commissioners

The Rest of the COGCC:  In Their Own Words

COGCC Clamps Down on Public Comment

The Martinez Case:  Youth take on the COGCC

About the COGCC