As the Denver Business Journal's Cathy Proctor reports:
A coalition of nearly 50 groups opposed to the use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Colorado has called for the resignation of Matt Lepore, the director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, because of remarks Lepore made at an energy forum in Loveland in mid-July…
Eric Brown, spokesman for Gov. John Hickenlooper, on Thursday noted that Lepore has apologized for his comments at the forum and that the governor supports him.
“Matt [Lepore] has apologized for his inappropriate comments,” Brown said.
“He [Lepore] continues to have our support. We are confident our team will continue taking the steps necessary to ensure energy development is conducted safely and with respect for all Coloradans,” Brown said.
From the letter sent to Gov. John Hickenlooper yesterday:
The COGCC has a sordid record when it comes to protecting Coloradans. Under Mr. Lepore’s leadership, the agency has engaged in two lawsuits against the City of Longmont in order to force the placement of fracking wells next to homes and schools. Under the COGCC’s watch, oil and gas have contaminated groundwater in 17 percent of the 2,078 spills over the past five years…
Mr. Lepore’s agency has rubber stamped hundreds of fracking permits, including a record-setting proposal to place a drilling pad with 67 fracked wells in a working-class neighborhood in Greeley two months ago. Mr. Lepore has done nothing to address the increased drilling that is encroaching on lower-income communities and communities of color that hold little political power to protect their interests.
How can ordinary Coloradans expect Mr. Lepore to protect them in keeping with the COGCC’s mandate to protect public health, safety, and welfare when he insults them at an industry-sponsored conference? The answer is simple: they can’t. [Pols emphasis]
For this reason, we respectfully request that you immediately call for Mr. Lepore’s resignation.
Like we said Monday, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Director Matt Lepore's presumptuous comments about the supposed affluence of opponents of "fracking" for oil and gas near Colorado residential communities–implying that opponents of the practice are wealthy enough to not care about the cost of energy for 'heating and cooling'–reveal a bias against those opponents and their concerns that is really quite harmful to the goal of building trust. In an environment where more and more Front Range cities are challenging the Hickenlooper administration's oversight, and seeking local moratoriums and bans that place them directly in conflict with the governor's office, this was a very stupid thing for Lepore to say–and we stand by our conclusion Monday that Lepore's sort-of apology in a Durango newspaper is not enough to make it right.