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Council members endorse seven citizens for Oil and Gas Committee

By: DANIEL CHACÓN
January 20, 2012
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An environmental scientist and a retired employee of two big oil companies are among the seven people who have been recommended to serve on Colorado Springs’ new Oil and Gas Committee.

Thirty-seven people applied to serve on the committee, which will study the impacts of oil and gas exploration and examine the city’s need for additional land use and zoning regulations, among other responsibilities.

The committee was commissioned by City Council President Scott Hente in response to plans by Texas-based Ultra Resources to drill on Banning Lewis Ranch in east Colorado Springs. The council issued a six-month moratorium on oil and gas exploration Nov. 29, and Hente gave the committee until May to issue a report.

To read more about oil and gas exploration in the city of Colorado Springs and El Paso County, click here.

City Council members Angela Dougan, Val Snider and Brandy Williams, who have already been chosen to serve on the committee, reviewed all the applicants’ résumés and are recommending the selection of seven non-voting citizen members.

The full City Council will consider the recommendations Monday.

Here are the seven citizens and excerpts from their answers in their city applications:

• Randy Case, a local attorney and real estate broker who has served on the city’s Public Safety Sales Tax Oversight Committee since 2002.
“I do not represent a particular constituency or advocate a particular position. I suggest there needs to be an objective review of the best available information and best available practices on the methods and technology being considered.”

• Jan Handke, an environmental scientist with more than 20 years experience evaluating health effects from hazardous chemicals.
“The City of Colorado Springs needs to examine above ground oil and gas exploration and operation policy because the impacts may extend beyond the immediate area of exploration and affect citizens in other locations.”

• Stephen Harris, an attorney who has practiced environmental law in Colorado Springs since 1993 and taught at Colorado College and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
“The government’s role is to balance the public interest in exploiting affordable domestic energy sources with its interest in clean air, clean water and healthy communities.”

• John Maynard, co-owner of Colorado Springs-based land planning and architectural firm N.E.S. Inc.
“I have provided services to past owners of the (Banning Lewis Ranch) and to prospective purchasers. I have also spoken with Ultra representatives about City regulations, but do not work for them.”

• Michael Martin, a retired employee of two oil companies who has also been an independent consultant and owner of a small company that worked with large oil and construction companies.
“I fervently believe that the USA needs to reduce its dependence on foreign oil in order to stabilize our economy, create jobs and reduce our dependence on peoples that do not have our best interests at heart.”

• Ed McCord, an attorney who served on the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission from 1987 to 1991.
“I have represented the industry, I have represented landowners against the industry, and I have regulated the industry. From my perspective, there is unnecessary polarization when it comes to oil and gas development.”

• Chris Mendrop, managing member and president of Colorado Development Capital, LLC, which provides investment banking services to smaller and middle-market clients in various industries.
“The Banning Lewis Ranch residential development project and the City of Colorado Springs could benefit significantly given energy resources that may be produced under a well thought-out co-development plan.”

The committee is scheduled to meet Thursday.

Contact Daniel Chacón: 476-1623
Twitter @danieljchacon
Facebook Daniel Chacon

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